Our South Florida readers have probably seen a lot of the proposals batted around in the news about the best ways to help homeowners who are struggling to make their monthly payments. Previous posts here have detailed the historic $25 billion settlement between the majority of states and some of the biggest lenders in the country, with much of that money to be designated for homeowner relief. And, many of our readers keep up with the news out of Washington, D.C., and the Federal Reserve, where interest rates are being kept at an all-time low in part to help stimulate mortgage lending. However, some may not have heard about the Hardest Hit Fund, right here in Florida.
When the nation was slammed by the burst of the housing bubble, South Florida wasn't able to escape the ramifications. Property values plummeted throughout the state, forcing many homeowners to seek a mortgage loan modification. This allowed them to avoid delinquent payments or foreclosure.
Unfortunately, the bad news concerning the national housing market continues to flow, as the numbers for the month of May indicate that there was a 9 percent increase in the amount of foreclosure filings from just a month ago.
Many of our readers in South Florida may be familiar with the government program known as the Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP. Under this program, which began in 2009, people who owe more on their homes than the homes are worth can refinance the associated mortgages through a more streamlined, efficient process.
While we have frequently discussed the recent upward trend of the South Florida real estate market, it is important to remember that, while the picture in some cases may be improving, many homeowners are still struggling. Florida was one of the hardest hit states during the housing meltdown, and a full recovery is far from complete.
Most of the real estate news that South Florida residents hear these days is good, but that is not the case throughout the rest of the nation. Banks are continuing with foreclosure proceedings in many areas, as the real estate markets remain depressed.
Recent statistics show that Florida has quite a logjam on its hands due to foreclosure filings. The count includes approximately 44,000 cases in Broward County alone, according to the Office of the State Courts Administrator.
There has been a lot of talk about the $25 billion settlement the government reached with the nation's five largest mortgage servicers. Among the 49 states listed in the complaint was Florida, where residents have been hit especially hard by mortgage foreclosures. According to reports, Florida is expected to receive $8.4 billion from the settlement.
In an effort to provide relief during the mortgage crisis that has affected so many Florida residents, state and federal officials arrived at an historic $26 billion settlement with five major mortgage servicers. Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Ally Financial and Citigroup have all signed on to provide $17 billion in mortgage relief to roughly one million borrowers throughout the nation. The federal government is set to handle $1 billion in relief, while $3 billion will be used to refinance loans for lower interest rates.
South Florida residents may have paid attention lately to the campaigning politicians who came to Florida and addressed, among other things, the troubles of the state's housing market. Struggling homeowners in Broward County and throughout South Florida are looking for ways to prevent foreclosure or complete a real estate sale without losing their nest eggs. However, the debates may have demonstrated a rather large separation between the needs of struggling homeowners and solutions politicians are proposing.