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A hot spot for foreclosures may get hotter

By Catherine E. Shoichet
Published July 13, 2007


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As investors struggle in a cooling real estate market, Riverview has become one of the nation's top areas for foreclosure filings.

The 33569 ZIP code landed at No. 318 on a list of 500 locations compiled by research firm RealtyTrac and published on CNNMoney.com. The list includes foreclosure filings from March, April and May.

"The areas where we see the hot spots for foreclosures ... those are all areas where there has been a lot of new construction," RealtyTrac spokesman Daren Blomquist said.

Riverview is no exception.

During the recent housing boom, dozens of new subdivisions drew investors and new homeowners to Riverview.

Now, lenders are dealing with increasing numbers of people who can't pay their mortgages. The problem: a combination of 100 percent mortgages and falling home values.

"It's unfortunate that people bought their houses at inflated prices," said Valerie Siger, a mortgage broker with H & M Mortgage in Riverview. "Right now, they're in trouble."

For some, refinancing is an option, she said. Others are being forced to sell.

"It doesn't surprise me," said Doug Skeggs, a mortgage broker with Premier Florida Mortgages in Riverview. "People bought their homes without putting anything down."

Now, some homeowners are stuck with rapidly increasing adjustable-rate mortgages that they can't afford, he said.

"It's the same thing that's happening all over," said Horace Morgan, who owns a realty and mortgage business in Brandon and offers credit counseling. "In the Riverview area, there are lots of new developments. There were lots of builders there. They were giving new incentives to Realtors and to buyers, including discounts for using their lenders."

The major problems, Morgan said, stem from the "creative loans" buyers secured during the boom, which required less documentation and fewer qualifications.

"They got their loans in the first place through creativity," he said. "Now they're back to reality."

Trying to negotiate changes in loan terms with lenders. Putting homes up for sale. Facing foreclosure.

Already this year, lenders have filed 3,573 foreclosure actions in Hillsborough County, according to the clerk of the Circuit Court. That's more than twice the number of foreclosure suits that had been filed during the same period in 2006.

The 197 properties on RealtyTrac's Riverview list are in preforeclosure, scheduled for auction or have already been seized by the lender.

And things could get worse before they get better.

"We're in the middle of a cycle now, and who knows how far down we'll go before we turn around," Skeggs said.

That means that many investors are hesitant to buy, Blomquist said.

"They're kind of sitting back and not sure if they want to get into it," he said. "They're waiting until it hits bottom to jump back in."

Catherine E. Shoichet can be reached at cshoichet@sptimes.com or 813 661-2454.

 

By CATHERINE E. SHOICHET

Times Staff Writer

As investors struggle in a cooling real estate market, Riverview has become one of the nation's top areas for foreclosure filings.

The 33569 ZIP code landed at No. 318 on a list of 500 locations compiled by research firm RealtyTrac and published on CNNMoney.com. The list includes foreclosure filings from March, April and May.

"The areas where we see the hot spots for foreclosures ... those are all areas where there has been a lot of new construction," RealtyTrac spokesman Daren Blomquist said.

Riverview is no exception.

During the recent housing boom, dozens of new subdivisions drew investors and new homeowners to Riverview.

Now, lenders are dealing with increasing numbers of people who can't pay their mortgages. The problem: a combination of 100-percent mortgages and falling home values.

"It's unfortunate that people bought their houses at inflated prices," said Valerie Siger, a mortgage broker with H & M Mortgage in Riverview. "Right now, they're in trouble."

For some, refinancing is an option, she said. Others are being forced to sell.

"It doesn't surprise me," said Doug Skeggs, a mortgage broker with Premier Florida Mortgages in Riverview. "People bought their homes without putting anything down."

Now, some homeowners are stuck with rapidly increasing adjustable-rate mortgages that they can't afford, he said.

"It's the same thing that's happening all over," said Horace Morgan, who owns a realty and mortgage business in Brandon and offers credit counseling. "In the Riverview area, there are lots of new developments. There were lots of builders there. They were giving new incentives to Realtors and to buyers, including discounts for using their lenders."

The major problems, Morgan said, stem from the "creative loans" buyers secured during the boom, which required less documentation and fewer qualifications.

"They got their loans in the first place through creativity," he said. "Now they're back to reality."

Trying to negotiate changes in loan terms with lenders. Putting homes up for sale. Facing foreclosure.

Already this year, lenders have filed 3,573 foreclosure actions in Hillsborough County, according to the clerk of the Circuit Court. That's more than twice the number of foreclosure suits that had been filed during the same period in 2006.

The 197 properties on RealtyTrac's Riverview list are in preforeclosure, scheduled for auction or have already been seized by the lender.

And things could get worse before they get better.

"We're in the middle of a cycle now, and who knows how far down we'll go before we turn around," Skeggs said.

That means that many investors are hesitant to buy, Blomquist said.

"They're kind of sitting back and not sure if they want to get into it," he said. "They're waiting until it hits bottom to jump back in."

Catherine E. Shoichet can be reached at cshoichet@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2454.

 

Foreclosures

Six Tampa Bay area communities are among the top 500 in the country for foreclosures.

City ZIP code Foreclosures

Port Richey 34668 259

Tampa 33610 224

Tampa 33604 216

Riverview 33569 197

St. Petersburg 33705 187

St. Petersburg 33711 165

Sources: CNNMoney.com and RealtyTrac

 

[Last modified July 12, 2007, 08:05:49]


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