Delinquent Mortgages Still High in South Florida
After getting badly battered by the housing downturn, things seem to finally be on the mend for the South Florida housing market. But, despite the baby steps toward improvement, the market still holds the record for the highest number of delinquent mortgages among the nation’s 100 largest metro areas.
According to nonprofit research group the Urban Institute, as of the third quarter, 15.8 percent of all first mortgages in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties were at least three months past due if not already in the middle of the foreclosure process. The group has been tracking mortgages on a quarterly basis since 2009. According to the latest data, the South Florida region posted the highest delinquent mortgage rate since the third quarter of 2009, followed by Poughkeepsie, N.Y., which recorded 15.7 percent. The average was 7.6 percent for the 100 largest metro areas.
“It’s far too early to say the crisis has passed,” Rob Pitingolo, author of the report, told the Sun Sentinel.
According to Realty Trac, which also tracks foreclosures, new foreclosure filings declined in South Florida in 2013, but Adam Seligman, a West Palm Beach real estate lawyer, told the Sun Sentinel that he expects the numbers to go up again in 2014.
Radian Posts Quarterly Profit
Although South Florida is still struggling, homeowners in other parts of the country seem to be doing OK, according to other measures.
America’s biggest private mortgage insurer, Radian Group Inc., reported profits in the fourth quarter with fewer homeowners defaulting on their monthly mortgage payments. Radian had suffered a loss in the third quarter.
The company reported a net profit of $36.4 million or 19 cents per share for the quarter ended Dec. 31. In the comparable quarter a year ago, the company had reported a loss of $177.3 million, or $1.34 per share.
Mortgage Rates Fall
Mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac said this week that the average rate for 30-year fixed loans dropped to 4.23 percent from 4.32 percent a week ago. Rates on 15-year loans also declined to 3.33 percent from 3.40 percent.
The news comes at a time when the recovery momentum in the market has slowed somewhat because of the chilling weather. According to CoreLogic, home prices dropped in December compared to the prior month. Sales also slowed when compared to a year-ago period.
December registered the third straight month of declining prices. But that doesn’t mean the trend will continue.
According to USA Today, most economists expect home sales and prices to rise this year, albeit at a slower pace. Sales and prices are expected to rise around 5 percent compared to double-digit gains in 2013.
Best Places to Flip a Home
As the economy recovered in 2013, home flipping became as popular as homeownership.
Last year, investors bought more than 156,600 homes, turned them around and sold them for an average profit of $58,081, according to USA Today. But, while the number of homes flipped shot up in 2013 compared to a year ago, home flips as part of home sales declined from 7.1 percent of sales in the fourth quarter of 2012 to 3.8 percent in the comparable quarter last year.
“We saw this surge in flipping that corresponded with the market bouncing off the bottom,“ said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac. “And now that home prices are beginning to moderate, flippers are beginning to pull back on their activity. I think another thing causing flippers to pull back is there’s not as much inventory available, particularly distressed inventory at a discounted price.”
According to USA Today, the six best states to flip houses were Washington, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, California and Massachusetts.
Read More: RealEstate.com