In the absolutely-not-surprising-in-any-way file, one of the 300 homeowners who went before a Seminole County judge during a three day session this week thinks he was treated flimsily by the court.
Blaize McMonagle told ABC News that Judge Alan Dickey sped through his case without being given the chance to defend himself.
Dickey was quoted in the Orlando Sentinel earlier in the week stating that he was only going to be able to give each defendant about 30 seconds if everyone showed up. With retired judges no longer aiding to help navigate through the foreclosure backlog, we expect to see more and more complaints from homeowners.
Our skepticism about Florida’s Hardest Hit Program being able to help homeowners in the long-run was confirmed in the Palm Beach Post this week. Sheryl Stuart, a Jupiter homeowner enrolled in the federally-funded program since September said she had doubts she’d ultimately be able to stay in her home once the payments ended because the salary at her new job wouldn’t cover her mortgage.
We believe the program might only delay the inevitable, and only with substantive help like principal reduction will homeowners have a real chance to get back on their feet.
UPDATE: After Stuart was profiled by the Post, she found out her payments, which are set to end in February, are being suspended because she also owns two condos, which are also in foreclosure. She claims the credit counselor who helped her with application for Hardest Hit was aware of this and never informed her of the limit.
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan came out this week and said a settlement with the big banks over their shady foreclosure practices is near. About one million homeowners would see their principals reduced as a result of the settlement, Donovan said, while others would be directly compensated by the banks.
We’ll believe it when we see it.
Finally we’d like to end the week by sharing a fresh perspective on the local housing collapse, courtesy of the Miami Herald. Indices from the Federal Housing Finance Agency show that home appreciation levels locally were much higher than the national average when the housing market peaked in 2007.
In both Broward and Miami-Dade counties, home prices were average well over 100 percentage points better than the national average, which was 166 percent 5 years ago. With numbers like that, in retrospect it should have easy for anyone to see that the bubble was about to burst, at least in South Florida.
It’s worth noting that homes locally have held their value better than the average US home. Hopefully that’s a sign of good things to come.
Have a great weekend and we’ll see you next week in the trenches!