20 Jul Mortgage Refinance in Florida, Are You Kidding Me ?
Mortgage refinances in Florida are all the rage, but where are the banks who just recorded record earnings. The Home Affordability Refinance Program known as HARP has been a dismal failure in Florida, especially Southwest Florida. In cities like Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Lehigh Acres foreclosures have run rampant and continue to do so.
Even with the July 1, 2009 announcement that the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac programs have been expanded to homeowners whose loan to value ratios are up to 125%, these refinances are still not getting done in any meaningful numbers.The first problem faced by a homeowner is the fact that home values have fallen to such a degree that 125% is not a feasible number, and therefore, they are still not eligible for the new and improved HARP plan. So, where does this leave Florida homeowners who on average are $100,000.00 upside down in Port Charlotte, Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres, Florida. Fort Myers and Sarasota are not so bad. I would guess that the average home in Naples, Fort Myers and Sarasota are $50,000.00 to $75,000.00.
Second, we have the unemployment problem to deal with. The average rate of unemployment in Southwest Florida is 10%. These are the people who need help the most. The Obama Administration has increased unemployment benefits, and believe it or not, unemployment benefits can be used as income to refinance a home.
Third, we have to deal with the problem of the mortgage servicers giving advice to homeowners not to pay their mortgage payments. Oh yes, this is happening everywhere. Consumers are calling their mortgage servicers and are being told not to pay their mortgage payments because they are not allowed to modify their mortgages until they are three months delinquent. Then, when a consumer tries to modify, they are told that they do not qualify because the home is no longer worth what is owed on the home.
Then we have the Home Affordability Modification Program (HAMP) loan program which is another disaster. This is grounds for another blog entirely. Basically, the HAMP program isn’t working either in Southwest Florida because the lender must agree to the modification. Ha, that is a joke. The only principal reductions going on here are in the mortgage foreclosure cases and that only comes once you demonstrate to the lenders just how screwed up their cases really are.
In a nutshell, you have three gigantic hurdles to leap over if you want a mortgage refinance in Southwest Florida. First, you have to have a great deal of equity in your home. Second, you have to have full time employment and cash in the bank. Third, you need a lender who is willing to take a chance on you.
Recently, the local Fort Myers Newspress has been running a series of articles on the problem of foreclosure and your options. I applaud them for finally covering this in depth. Before this series, the foreclosure problem was only addressed now and then and really didn’t respond to the needs of the community.
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