Late mortgage payments rise after hurricane season takes toll on homeowners


The 2017 storm season spurred a mass evacuation but dealt just a glancing blow to South Florida’s real estate market. However, hurricanes blew up many mortgage borrowers’ histories of prompt payment, CoreLogic said Tuesday.

In the three-county South Florida region, 12.7 percent of mortgages were delinquent by at least 30 days in November 2017, up from 7.4 percent in November 2016.

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach mortgages that were 90 or more days past due totaled 5.1 percent in November, up from 3.8 percent in November 2016.

"The effects of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria appear clearly in our mortgage delinquency report," said Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s chief economist.

Schools and many businesses closed for days before and after Irma, forcing some workers to miss paychecks. Delinquency rates also spiked in Texas, where Harvey inundated Houston, and in Puerto Rico, which was decimated by Maria.

While South Florida’s delinquencies rose, the foreclosure rate fell from November 2016 to November 2017, CoreLogic said. And Irma seems unlikely to take a lasting toll on South Florida’s economy, where unemployment rates are microscopic and most property owners  escaped major damage.

For instance, Invitation Homes, the largest owner of single-family homes in Palm Beach County and nationwide, said that 30 percent of its 23,449 homes in Florida and Atlanta sustained minor damage, mainly to roofs, fences and landscaping.

Just five of the company’s homes incurred major damage. The total bill for damages will be $14 million to $17 million, the company said.

Another large landlord, Starwood Waypoint Homes, estimated $10 million in damage from Irma.

The company said 25 homes took “significant damage” from Irma, while an additional 4,400 properties had minor damage.


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