Florida leads nation in deeply underwater borrowers


Florida’s property values have come back strong in recent years, but a handful of borrowers still owe far more than their homes are worth, the federal government says.

Some 163 Florida homeowners refinanced during the third quarter with loan-to-value ratios of 125 percent or more, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said Tuesday in its latest report on the Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP.

Florida led the nation in HARP refis to borrowers under water by 25 percent or more — for instance, a borrower who owes $250,000 on a house worth only $200,000. The rest of the country mustered only 572 deeply underwater refis.

Florida also led the nation in HARP refis to borrowers who were under water by 5 percent to 25 percent. There were 200 refis that fell into that category in July, August and September.

Some 3.4 million homeowners have refinanced through HARP since 2009, but the program is winding down as home values rebound. The refis are available to borrowers who took loans through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac before May 31, 2009, and owe at least 80 percent of their home’s value.

HARP continues through 2016. The Federal Housing Finance Agency says 58,000 Floridians remain eligible for a refi.

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