By Paul Owers, Sun Sentinel
December 9, 2009
Florida had the nation's second-highest foreclosure rate in November, surpassing California, and housing market researchers fear the problem could deteriorate even more over the next two years.
One in every 165 homes in Florida entered some stage of foreclosure last month, RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday. Only Nevada was worse, at one in every 119 houses.
Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties had the nation's 13th-highest foreclosure rate among metro areas, with one in every 136 homes receiving foreclosure notices in November.
The crisis began in 2006 when risky mortgages taken out during the housing boom began to reset, forcing homeowners into drastically higher monthly payments. More recently, mounting job losses have been to blame for people losing their homes to lenders.
But exotic loans could be the problem once again, said Brad Hunter, South Florida director for the Metrostudy research firm in West Palm Beach.
Even if the employment picture improves next year, a slew of "Option ARM" adjustable-rate mortgages are scheduled to reset by 2011, potentially pushing thousands more homeowners into foreclosure.
"That, to me, is a real threat to the high-end housing market," Hunter said. "A lot of those loans were written on newer, larger houses in nice, suburban neighborhoods."