New report lists ten Florida counties among the nation's most vulnerable to home foreclosures due to COVID-19


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Just as coronavirus shelter-in-place orders are keeping people stuck at home, many in Florida could face homelessness due to loss of income and other factors, according to a new report.

In fact, the findings, by real estate data-service provider Attom Data Solutions, shows that housing markets in ten of Florida's 67 counties are among the 50 most vulnerable nationwide to the economic impacts of COVID-19. Most are in North and Central Florida, including Osceola, lake, Flagler, Clay and Hernando. Broward was the highest-ranking South Florida county.

Only New Jersey, with 14 counties, had more ranked in the 50 as most at risk nationally, along with four counties in New York, three in Connecticut and one in California. Housing markets examined in the West and Midwest U.S. were considered less likely to see large numbers of people losing their homes due to the health crisis.

The study looked at 483 counties around the U.S. to analyze the percentage of homes receiving foreclosure notices at the end of 2019, the percentage of homes "underwater" (owing more than the home's current value) at the end of 2019, and what percentage of local wages are required to pay for home ownership.
Florida has one of the lowest median incomes in the country, and with a local economy lopsidedly dependent on tourism and convention revenue, that could mean a homegrown disaster on the horizon.

Worse, homeowners dependent on rental revenue from tenants to pay their mortgages could risk their houses of cards folding, as nationally the number of renters paying rent in the first five days of April has been about 12 percent lower than in the same period in March.

Realtors are feeling the pinch as well. With home sales "back to levels last seen during the depths of the Great Recession," the Orlando Business Journal reports Orlando-area Realtors are losing an estimated $689,961 in commission per day from the dip.

OBJ's report says the future could be rough for home sales, and "much will depend on the effectiveness of the federal stimulus and a willingness among banks to grant temporary mortgage forbearance for homeowners."

Indeed, without major interventions to prevent foreclosures, and solutions that stop homeowner debt from accruing in the process, we can expect to see more families getting kicked out of their homes in the Sunshine State.

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