NUMBER OF VACANT FLORIDA HOUSING UNITS CURRENTLY IN FORECLOSURE, COMPRISING 33 PERCENT OF THE 167,680 FORECLOSURES NATIONWIDE
PERCENTAGE OF FLORIDA MORTGAGES THAT ARE DELINQUENT, NOT INCLUDING THE 10.5 PERCENT THAT ARE IN FORECLOSURE
INCREASE IN EXISTING FLORIDA SINGLE-FAMILY HOME SALES FROM MAY 2012 TO MAY 2013, WITH AVERAGE PRICES RISING 15.9 PERCENT TO $171,000
“IT IS ALWAYS WELCOMED NEWS WHEN WE LEARN OUR HOUSING MARKET IS ON THE RISE AND THAT MORE AND MORE INDIVIDUALS ARE ABLE TO MAKE THEIR HOMEOWNERSHIP DREAMS A REALITY. IN FLORIDA, WE ARE CREATING JOBS AND HAVE HAD THE LARGEST DROP IN UNEMPLOYMENT IN THE COUNTRY SINCE DECEMBER 2010. WE STILL HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO, BUT TODAY’S NEWS IS FURTHER PROOF THAT WE ARE HEADED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.”
– Gov. Rick Scott
SOURCES: REALTYTRAC, FLORIDA REALTORS, FLGOV.COM
SIX OF ONE
You know that thing where you dig a really big hole, but instead of recognizing the expanse of your submersion, you look up at the mountain of displaced dirt and call it a victory? Then you’re probably aware of the prevailing philosophy behind Gov. Rick Scott’s trundling re-election campaign: deny, divert, distract.
Last week was a complicated explosion of randomly generated numbers for the governor, with each and every digit massaged and polished for its requisite press release shelf. Whereas in his previous election, Scott only had one key numeric figure to play – that being the $73 million from his own dubiously stocked wallet that was shuffled into his inaugural campaign – this time around, Scott has a record and some poll numbers to contend with. Bring on the dancing figures!
On June 18, the latest round of usually damning polling from Quinnipiac University was released with all of the expected fanfare, and for (apparently) good reason. Forty-three percent of Floridians sampled said that they currently approve of Scott’s leadership, and guess what you guys, that’s a huge surge from the 36 percent approval wallop the governor endured the last go-round in March. It goes without saying that within the same poll were the tea leaves of predictive failure – Scott would lose by 10 percent to presumptive (sorta) Democratic nominee Charlie Crist, 44 percent still thought he was doing a crap job, 50 percent said he did not deserve to be re-elected – but in the battle of averages for average people, there could be little denying that Scott was surging, because relativism.
Why the perception surge for the man nobody wants to admit to liking? Well, if we had to hazard a guess, it would probably come down to some clever (if unrealistic) message management, especially on matters of the economy. For instance, last week, just after dressing up a deal to bring 3,000 jobs from online retailer Amazon to the state (the majority will likely be low-wage warehouse gigs; also, Florida, you’ll now have to pay a 6 percent sales tax on your Amazon purchases!), Scott rushed to the email blaster to shout that Florida’s unemployment rate had dipped a hair to 7.1 percent, adding that since December 2010, 330,000 private-sector jobs with invisible wages had appeared out of thin air.
“Each month we continue to distance ourselves from the national unemployment rate and it is clear we are succeeding in growing opportunities for Florida families to pursue the American dream,” Scott said in a statement, alluding to the national unemployment rate of 7.6 percent and how we’re so much better that we should just secede already. There wasn’t much mention of the fact that there were actually 6,200 fewer people employed in the state month-to-month, per the state’s own Department of Economic Opportunity and an actual payroll analysis, but why would there be?
Similarly, on the housing front, Scott’s office seems to be taking some credit for a spike in new listings and new sales of single-family homes, despite the fact that there are clearly other factors at work than the governor’s crooked smile and its resulting income security for middle class residents. For one, there’s a race to get into homes before national interest rates go up, as they are expected to this year. Also, as the Florida Current reports, almost half of the sales of single-family homes being touted are cash sales, which would seem to indicate that there’s more than a little bit of opportunistic flipping and prospecting going on among the wealthy class. But slightly more concerning is the fact that Florida holds one-third of national burden of abandoned foreclosure homes – 55,503 in the state, with 5,569 of those right here in Orlando. Earlier this month, Gov. Scott signed into law House Bill 87 as a means of fast-tracking foreclosures, because this is starting to look bad, and we’re probably better off trading human decency for better numbers. Look, a mountain! That’s how you win an election.