The American dream is turning into a nightmare for a growing number of Florida homeowners.
The Sunshine State now leads the nation in home mortgages entering some stage of foreclosure.
More than 16,500 properties across the state began foreclosure proceedings in August, according to online industry analyst RealtyTrac. That’s a 50 percent jump from the previous month.
Experts believe a big part of the problem is mortgage lenders who signed people up for interest-only loans and other exotic financing packages that they really couldn’t afford.
Realtor Lillian Jack says people are being enticed beyond their financial abilities.
“Predatory lenders are sending flyers and letters daily. Credit card things, the whole nine yards, so it’s enticing people. Need Money Now? So they go in and make the application, it’s fairly easy to get the approval, and they think they’re in great shape, until the obligation comes due and it hits them.”
Realtors also say skyrocketing property taxes and homeowners’ insurance premiums are adding to the mortgage burden.
Plus, even though home sales are falling, home prices continue to rise. The median price of an existing home in Florida is now more than $250,000 That’s up more than $100,000 in just five years.