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Florida's Housing Woes: Banks With "Troubled" Exposure


Some interesting intelligence from one of the ground zeroes of the housing market: Florida. Paul Miller of FBR published some financial “ramblings” (his word not mine) on a recent trip to Florida’s West Coast.

The group from Friedman Billings Ramsey visited St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Port Charlotte/Punta Gorda and Fort Myers, meeting with realtors, mortgage lenders and land brokers.

The takeaway is that most down there believe it will take two to four years to work through the over-swelled inventories and that the lower end of the market will recover more quickly than the higher-priced homes.

“Rising foreclosures and continued home price declines will result in significant losses to the banking system,” Miller writes. “Higher severity rates should remain an overhang on valuations for institutions with the largest exposures to the Western Florida housing market."

And those are:


Bank of America
Fifth Third
JP Morgan Chase
National City
Washington Mutual
Wells Fargo

Source: Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data

Florida was of course a hub of real estate speculators during the recent housing boom, so it’s no surprise that prices there continue to fall (down 30-40 percent from their highs) and that foreclosures are not abating.

An interesting issue coming up there, as Miller reports, is that even buyers who qualify for financing are having issues with appraisals. Appraisers are using foreclosures and short sales in the comps. That makes pricing even more dicey.

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  • Diana Olick

    Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.

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