The State of Real Estate Part One
Story by TV20's Crispin Lopez
This mortgage and housing crisis continues to affect communities in all 50 states, but Florida remains one of the hardest hit. According to a survey by the Mortgage Bankers Association, by the end of 2008 one in five home loans in Florida were delinquent. That's the highest state level in the country. Nearly nine percent or more than 320,000 homes were in foreclosure. North Central Florida is faring better than other parts of the state, but residents continue to hope that the end is in sight.
They can be found on lawns: signs popping up all across the state with messages like "price reduced" or "bank-owned." And online: county websites with hundreds of foreclosure sales listings. Signs of how the mortgage and housing crisis is taking its toll on homeowners throughout North Central Florida.
"It's just been surprising the amount of investment that went into the Florida real estate and then the collapse of that investment," says Tim Becker, Director of the Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Florida. "Until we can start feeling more comfortable that the consumer's going to be able to go out there and purchase a new home and have financing available for a new home there's going to be some real uncertainty in the real estate marketplace."
In 2006 there were just over 500 foreclosure filings in Alachua County. That number jumped to more than 1,000 in 2008. Levy County also saw an increase in filings between 2006 and 2008. Marion County has seen the biggest increase. There have been more foreclosure filings in the first three months of this year than during all of 2006.
The rise in foreclosures hurts other homeowners as well by decreasing property values. According to realtytrac.com, median home values dropped 15 percent in Alachua County and 18 percent in Levy County. Marion County has seen the biggest decrease, an almost 30 percent fall.
Experts like Becker remain optimistic that the situation will improve. Although he admits it won't be a speedy process.
"What's going to help us get out of this is time. And a lot of people don't want to hear that. Time is really going to help cure this."
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