Can't we just fast-forward a couple of years? I think we all know how this one ends. We've seen it all before.
Mortgage breakdown in Florida - Housing news can't get any worse, right? Wrong. In May, Florida homes were 3 times as likely to enter foreclosure as those in other states.
One in five U.S. homes entering the foreclosure process last month were located in Florida. It's not the sort of ranking that makes you want to shout, "We're No. 1!"
But according to data assembled by Bargain.com, a Goleta, Calif., company that seeks to profit from homeowners' grief by selling lists of foreclosed homes that are for sale, it's the truth: Florida leads the nation in housing distress.
Is it something we said? Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wachovia Corp., cites two key reasons why the state stands out today:
- An abundance of properties owned by speculators.
- The relative ease and speed with which mortgage lenders can obtain a court-ordered foreclosure here.
The onetime Jacksonville resident says he was surprised to learn, after the fact, just how much speculation took place in Florida during the recent boom.
Many buyers told their lenders they planned to live in the homes they were buying.
"The truth is, people lie, " Vitner says.