Despite the fact that state and national news sources are beginning to regularly report on signs of economic improvement, many Florida residents continue to live under the burden of debt. Countless families are still living paycheck to paycheck, and a considerable percentage of people are still feeling the effects of the recession and housing bubble bust. Bankruptcy and foreclosure rates reflect the financial challenges that a huge number of families are confronted by on a day-to-day basis. Beyond that, they can serve as a sobering reminder that national figures do not always reflect the realities faced by individual states.
A Jacksonville-based financial information systems company recently published a report on national foreclosure figures. The findings of the survey showed that national foreclosures were down to 1.5 percent in March. In the state of Florida, however, that number stood at a little over 3 percent. For the month of March, Florida was one of two states with the highest number of underwater mortgages. The state also had one of the highest negative equity ratios in the entire country.
It is estimated that one third of homeowners currently engaged in foreclosure proceedings owe at least 50 percent more than what their homes are actually worth. Even though the number of people with underwater mortgages has decreased by more than 1.5 million this past year alone, it is also estimated that Florida accounts for a little over 15 percent of all underwater borrowers. Possible reasons for the high foreclosure rates in the Sunshine State were not provided.
Source: Jacksonville Business Journal, “Number of foreclosures down nationally but Florida still further underwater,” Colleen Michele Jones, May 4, 2015