The economic situation in both Florida and Michigan is pretty similar…and not in a good way. Along with high unemployment and mass foreclosures, this doesn’t bode well for politicians. Rightly or wrongly, people in economic trouble turn to them to blame them for finance-based problems. So when it came to the presidential primaries, of course it was going to have an impact. Ultimately though, Mitt Romney scored nearly half of the votes, coming in with 46 percent, the next closest contender to him being Rick Santorum who only got 13 percent. He said, “we still believe in the America that is the land of opportunity and a beacon of freedom.” Well, we’ll just have to wait and see how he relates this to the housing issue for the state.
Both Michigan and Florida have been trying to deal with their economic plights but to what degree has this been successful? Not especially. Foreclosures are so common because so many people lack a safety net. So if a spouse gets sick or dies, the main breadwinner loses their work, or there is some other crisis, foreclosure is the next step. And what’s worse for those in Florida is that since there was such an incredible housing boom, when the crash came, it was even more devastating. Statistics show that of the 4.5 million borrowers who still have mortgage loans to repay, over 2 million of these now owe more than what their houses are valued at. Nationwide the figure is around 28 percent, but in Florida it is closer to 48 percent. Good people who have worked hard their whole lives, are now being forced to rejoin the workforce having taken retirement at 65.
So what impact has the political situation had on this? Well, it seems like President Obama tried a couple of years ago. But the Home Affordable Refinance Program he established was too little too late. It was meant to assist those homeowners with little or no equity refinance. Florida is now seeing the establishment of support groups for the foreclosed, with one meeting being held in downtown West Palm Beach.