After Hurricane Irma, South Florida mortgage delinquencies remain high


After a busy hurricane season, South Florida homeowners continue to miss mortgage payments, CoreLogic said Tuesday.

In the three-county region, 11.6 percent of mortgages were delinquent by at least 30 days in December 2017, up from 7.2 percent in December 2016.

The sudden spate of late payments is something of a head-scratcher. After all, the 2017 storm season spurred a mass evacuation but dealt just a glancing blow to South Florida’s real estate market

The damage might prove temporary. In November, 12.7 percent of mortgages in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach region were delinquent by at least 30 days, CoreLogic said -- so by that measure, delinquencies are falling.

And the December 2017 foreclosure rate of 0.8 percent remained well below the 1.6 percent rate from a year earlier.

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.

Hurricane 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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