TALLAHASSEE, FL – April 6, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — Florida Realtors® has announced the findings of its unique Face of Foreclosure research project, designed to study the impact of foreclosures on both the Florida housing market and on individual Florida homeowners facing foreclosure. The project’s goal was to develop in-depth information on the causes of foreclosures in Florida, which in turn will help lawmakers as they work on crafting legislation on this complex issue.
Strategic Guidance Systems conducted the research for the Face of Foreclosure project, which was launched in July 2009.
“Floridians of all incomes and social backgrounds have felt the effects of the foreclosure crisis,” said John Sebree, Florida Realtors vice president of public policy. “By looking to the root causes of foreclosures among individuals and families who have actually experienced it, Florida Realtors lead the way in the fight to restore confidence in real estate and get homeowners back on their feet.”
Among the most important findings of the Face of Foreclosure project is what Sebree referred to as the “plus one” effect. “Contrary to what some researchers have argued, many Florida homeowners were not driven into foreclosure by simply being trapped in bad loans, or losing their jobs or taking pay cuts,” he said. “In most cases, it was a combination of rising living costs, unemployment or decreased pay, health issues and other factors that caused homeowners to get into trouble. Simple answers and trite political responses just don’t tell the whole story.”
According to the report, studies of several cities that bore the brunt of the housing crisis, such as Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Cape Coral, found direct correlations between rising unemployment rates and the growth of foreclosure notices in 2008 and 2009. However, the real story of multiple factors emerged in personal interviews with many individuals and families experiencing foreclosure in Florida.
Emotional testimonies of families facing foreclosure reaffirmed Florida Realtors’ findings, according to the report. Respondents to the Face of Foreclosure survey project discussed the continual growth of housing costs as a percentage of income, with some respondents stating that housing expenses took up as much as 75 percent of their monthly income. Respondents also confirmed that job losses, unexpected medical expenses and growing family expenses worsened their economic situation.
“These deeply personal statements from real Floridians show that the pain of the foreclosure crisis is not confined to lenders, builders or businessmen, but also affects many hard-working people trying their hardest to make things right,” Sebree said. “Florida Realtors will continue to work alongside Florida homeowners to make sure that they have the representation and knowledge they need to get through the foreclosure process, so they emerge from it in a better place to succeed and provide for their loved ones.”
The Face of Foreclosure Florida report will be available on Florida Realtors® website at www.floridarealtors.org, under the “Research” tab. For questions about the Face of Foreclosure project, please contact Joel Searby with Strategic Guidance Systems at (352) 372-1711.
Florida Realtors®, formerly known as the Florida Association of Realtors®, serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 115,000 members in 67 boards/associations. Florida Realtors® Media Center website is available at http://media.floridarealtors.org.
Vani Ungapen, Director of Global Business and Legislative Research or Marla Martin, Communications Manager, 850/224-1400, ext. 2502 or 407/438-1400, ext. 2326