The intent of this indicator is to identify and document the respective foreclosure rates in Hillsborough County and its subunits. This data serves as a surrogate for the overall economic climate in the County as it relates to housing and the ability of the public to afford homeownership. This information is also significant because foreclosures have deleterious effects on both individuals / families, and the neighborhoods and communities they live in. Identifying such areas provides yet another focus for the services and funding that might be provided by the Children's Board and others.
A foreclosure in this context is defined as "the legal and professional proceeding in which a mortgagee, or other lien holder, usually a lender, obtains a court ordered termination of a mortgagor's equitable right of redemption." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreclosure) In effect, such a legal action "forecloses" a borrower's legal right to redeem a property by repaying the debt.
As recently as 2006, Florida did not experience a significant foreclosure problem. By late 2009, however, the State ranks between first and fourth place among all states in foreclosure rates (or the percentage of single family residential homes in foreclosure). Moreover, the Tampa Bay area has among the highest foreclosure rates in the State. As of March, 2009, about 7% of all mortgages in the region were in foreclosure compared to 2% of all mortgages nationally (St. Pete Times "Un-real estate" blog, May 18, 2009).
Researchers at USF have noted that relatively little attention has been paid to date to links between high foreclosure rates and household, neighborhood or citywide problems. Families and individuals that go through foreclosure face emotional distress as well as financial setbacks, and literature on forced relocations and displacement indicate these stresses are particularly pronounced for children and the elderly. Preliminary results of foreclosure data analysis for Hillsborough County from 2004-2008 indicate foreclosures have been most evident in poorer neighborhoods with older housing and high percentages of African Americans. Rates are rising rapidly for the same period, however, in several new, middle class developments at the edge of the urbanized area. In 2005, the overall rate of residential foreclosures in Hillsborough County was 0.85% - by 2008 the overall rate had increase to 7.44%. The work of USF and other researchers in this arena is an important component to evolving public policy on how to address this social problem.
NOTE: The source of information for this section was "Losing House and Home: Differential Impacts of Mortgage Foreclosure on Families and Neighborhood on the Florida Gulf Coast," a draft NSF grant proposal (July 26, 2009).
For 2007 through 2009 the data collection and reporting was done by Foreclosures Daily, a Florida-based company that collects each day's foreclosure filings from the Hillsborough County Clerk's office, and loads it into a database that is joined with the Property Appraiser database for the County. For 2010 onward, data collection was done by the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser, with analysis done by the Florida Center staff.