Mortgage foreclosures

Highlands population still trending down

SEBRING - Two years ago, Highlands County's population teetered over 100,000. Last year, it dropped to 99,713. Today, it's 99,215.

That's the word from the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business research.

"This will be the interim forecast until we get the census," said county planner Don Hanna. "That will come in March of next year."

Exactly where those people have gone is a bit of a mystery, however.

Borrowers beware: Firms profit off defaults

Joshua Rand is the muscle. Not in a busting-skulls, Tony Soprano kind of way.

But he does seek to collect, and sometimes even buys, the debt left by delinquent homeowners who walk away from their mortgages - the same borrowers who often assume that a foreclosure or short sale wipes out their loan balance, ending their liability.

A principal in the New York-based Deficiency Judgment Recovery Network, Rand said he has "hundreds, maybe thousands" of home loans gone sour in Florida that his company, formed in late 2009, is working to collect balances from.

No gains in Florida’s Consumer Sentiment as economic woes increase

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s overall Consumer Sentiment remained unchanged at 69 in December, but increasing pessimism about personal finances reflects the state’s worsening economic plight as housing prices fell and unemployment rose, according to a new University of Florida survey.

Study: Florida in fiscal peril

ORLANDO -- Florida ranks seventh on a list of states in fiscal peril.

According to the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research, during a one year period, the state's population fell by more than 58,000.

Florida's population hasn't been this small since World War II.

This may not seem like a big deal for a state with 18 million residents, but it's been 63 years since the population even fell at all.

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Home prices drop 41.5% in 3 years

BROOKSVILLE - There has been a 41.5 percent decline in the average sales price of a single-family home in the past three years, according to new information from the property appraiser's office. That is a "sobering" statistic, said Nick Nikkinen, director of special projects for the property appraiser's office. Property Appraiser Alvin Mazourek said he has been property appraiser since 1997, and this is the first year he's seen any significant value drops in terms of home prices that affect tax assessments. "I've never seen the market like this," he said.

Good news about housing and stocks lifts Florida’s Consumer Sentiment

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Rising housing prices, stock market gains and the lack of any new setbacks in the national economy boosted Florida’s Consumer Sentiment three points to 70 this month, according to a new University of Florida survey.

Consumer credit to get boost

WASHINGTON -- Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, warning that ''millions of Americans cannot find affordable financing for basic credit needs,'' announced a major expansion of the federal bailout on Tuesday -- as much as $800 billion to make mortgages and consumer credit more available and affordable.

A shortage of credit in auto loans has strangled sales in that industry, helping drive sales down to their lowest level in 17 years. In Florida, car sales were down 31 percent in the third quarter, CNW Market Research reported.

Floridians close wallets as Consumer Sentiment sinks

According to survey figures released Tuesday, statewide Consumer Sentiment fell again this month, surpassing a 16-year low recorded in March.

The results of the monthly University of Florida survey was one of several pieces of unpleasant economic news that came out Tuesday. Among the others:

• A national home-price survey showed that the South Florida market was the second-fastest-falling in the nation in February.

• A study found that Florida ranked fourth in the nation for the number of mortgage foreclosures during the first quarter.

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