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.
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.
Buyers and sellers of residential real estate in Broward County will be interested to hear that, for the sixth week in a row, the mortgage loan interest rate averaged less than 4 percent. According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed-rate loan fell to an all-time low, at 3.89 percent, while the average 15-year rate dropped to 3.16 percent. The result? What you'd expect. More South Floridians have been applying for mortgages to take advantage of low interest rates. However, according to loan officers, personal debt, unemployment and the uncertainty of the current housing market are likely preventing many people from even applying for a mortgage.
According to a recent decision involving mortgage lender Countrywide (now owned by Bank of America since 2008), over 200,000 African-American and Hispanic loan borrowers could receive between $500 to thousands of dollars in remuneration. A payment of $335 million is meant to settle charges of discrimination stemming from Florida's housing boom. Bank of America will make payments to borrowers nationwide, and thousands of people in South Florida are expected to receive compensation. It is likely that the lender's unfair practices against communities of color led to many needless foreclosures.
Florida has been hit hard by the housing crisis, as many families continue to struggle to meet their mortgage commitments. Since the nation's mortgage problems are now an undeniable fact, a number of financial companies have made special efforts to work with mortgage holders to helped them through the difficulties of the last few years. Ocwen Financial Corporation's West Palm Beach office is said to be one such company. According to Hope Now, a mortgage industry group, Ocwen has aided thousands of Florida residents through its loan modification program.