The Sunshine State was one of the hardest hit by the burst of the housing bubble. While, like many other states, the recovery is well on its way, the state still lags in several important indicators. And others that bear watching. Delinquency rates and negative equity still remain high in some places in Florida.

  • The Florida housing market, one of the hardest hit, continues to recover, but with several indicators still lagging.
  • Delinquency rates and negative equity still remain high in some places in Florida.
  • Prices still have not completely recovered.

The Sunshine State was one of the hardest hit by the burst of the housing bubble.

While, like many other states, the recovery is well on its way, the state still lags in several important indicators. And others that bear watching.

Partially because of interest by foreign buyers, the Miami market is rallying. Buyers from Central and South America and China are making waves in both single- and multi-family purchases.

According to recent CoreLogic data about the state, mortgage loans in delinquency continue to fall, and right along with that, negative equity continues to calm.  

Delinquency rates, though, still gain attention.

From 2009 to 2013, Florida’s average serious delinquency rate was 16.2 percent. The state received more than $1 billion to help speed the recovery, but the state officials have been widely criticized for its inefficient use: it is reported that only half of Florida’s funds have been used. The funds were from the Hardest Hit Funds allocation pool from the US Treasury’s Making Home Affordable TARP.

The programs assist in stabilizing communities and helping prevent foreclosure through loan workout programs designed at the local level.

As of June 2015, Florida’s Hardest Hit Fund assisted nearly 23,234 homeowners through six programs. These include: unemployment mortgage assistance, loan reinstatements, modifications, principal reduction and elderly mortgage assistance. In April, a down payment assistance program was added.

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Even though price appreciation is grabbing headlines across the country, climbing out of a sinkhole takes time. In Florida, the CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI) is still 38 percent below its peak value.

At the country level, CoreLogic reports that for the 50 counties for which the organization generates an HPI, more than half show home prices that are below 70 percent of peak value. Miami-Dade, Walton, Monroe and all coastal counties registered index values above the national index as of August 2015. That’s the good news: the bad news is that despite that growth, values were still 25 to 30 percent below their respective peaks during the run-up to the housing market implosion.

Negative equity continues to dog Florida. Out of all 67 Florida counties, 25 have serious delinquency rates twice that of the national rate of 3.51 percent. The central region is where this problem is concentrated, where in Osceola, Polk and Orange counties continue to have greater than a 20 percent share of mortgages in negative equity as of July.

The central region and interior counties also rank highest when measured by the number of seriously delinquent loans, with several spots where the problem is still in double digits as of July 2015.

When buyers come shopping in Florida, many are now paying with cash. In fact, Florida is a national leader in that stat.

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Buyers with cash have long been interested in the state. Again according to CoreLogic, cash sale transactions peaked in 2011 at nearly 60 percent of all sales within Florida versus the peak of 46 percent at the national level for the same period. The researchers at CoreLogic point out that this trend can be taken either way – more money quickly finding its way into neighborhoods and helping them rebound, or an influx of potential slum landlords. Only time will tell.

Email Kimberley Sirk.

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