From the early- to mid-2000’s Florida was known not only for its hot weather, but also as a hot spot for real estate. Banks were fast and loose with mortgage approval and interest rates were rock bottom. Meanwhile, home ownership was on the rise nationwide and it was entirely centered on America’s southeast peninsula.
Banks were approving mortgages left and right. Some applications were even referred to as ‘no-paper approvals,’ meaning there was no requirement for proof of income. So banks were approving $250,000 loans for some borrowers who didn’t even have to prove they had the means to pay for it. Mortgage approvals were being rolled out quicker than ever and it gave the illusion there was positive consumer confidence and skyrocketing buying power.
From coast to coast everything was coming up roses, until the loans caught up with the lenders. Accounting for Murphy’s Law, mortgage holders began defaulting on their loans; some right after they were approved and some after a couple months. Regardless, all the bad loans began catching up with the banks in 2008. Throughout the year, subprime lenders would buy the bad loans and the papers would be shuffled. But in the end, it all came out in the wash.
By the fall of 2008, bending lenders began breaking. The most prolific of which was Lehman Brothers, a global financial services firm forced to declare chapter 11 bankruptcy and liquidate its assets in the fall. Being the first domino to fall, the rest of the lending institutions soon followed. In order to avoid complete financial ruin, however, the government was forced to use tax payer dollars to ‘bail out’ most lending institutions.
But all the bail-outs in the world couldn’t change the fact subprime borrowers were holding these mortgages. And a good chunk of the inventory these borrowers were holding mortgages on were housing in Florida. Subsequently, statewide, there was a glut of inventory on the market to drive down demand and prices. The only thing driven up was the number of vacant houses and negative equity.
It’s been a long, bumpy road since the financial collapse of 2008. From the collapse has come much more affordable real estate, making the Florida market extremely active. As of January, 2015, housing inventory has stayed below the typical norm of six month supply and homes are selling quickly. Prices have stabilized but are still affordable, and with the increase in demand, steady demand for real estate in Florida, price increases should be expected as long as there is not a huge spike in inventory.