Since the recession, it has grown increasingly difficult for homeowners to keep up with payments and also maintain the value of their homes. For those in Florida who are still struggling, falling home values have made underwater mortgages a reality, which, in turn, makes home foreclosure rates a reality. For those who struggle to pay on a home that has lost its value through no fault of their own, there are some programs out there that can help.
Florida currently has the highest rate of underwater mortgages. This means the loan on the house is above what the current value is, typically described as 125 percent higher than the actual value. While the rate is still high, it is improving as compared to a year ago.
This reality makes it difficult for struggling homeowners to keep paying on a home has lost its value. Yet, the threat of foreclosure can also be financially devastating, especially for elderly homeowners who have depleted their savings to keep their homes. In Florida, loan modifications and streamlining the process have helped. A new federal program is also helping homeowners reduce their payments as their home’s value has fallen off.
While there is no way for an individual homeowner to reverse the underwater status of their home all on their own, having options to deal with an underwater mortgage can help homeowners avoid home foreclosure if they want to stay in their homes. In Florida, the loan modification process can be a useful tool and help homeowners essentially ride out the rest of the recession. Laws, federal programs and regulations are dynamic in Florida; therefore, staying up to date on the latest options is a good way to find which ones may be best.
Source: News-JournalOnline.com, Area homeowners struggle with underwater loans, Mark Harper, Oct. 20, 2013