Saint Petersburg Pushes Up Florida’s Foreclosures by State
Foreclosed homes in neighborhoods in Saint Petersburg have put Floridaforeclosures by state with 385,309 residential properties with foreclosure filings, according to foreclosure tracking firm RealtyTrac. It also had the second among the top three in rankings of foreclosures by state. In 2008, Florida was second in highest foreclosure rate, with 4.5 percent of residential properties in default.
In lower-income neighborhoods where the foreclosed properties are located, the homes are broken down and criminal activities abound. Many of these foreclosed homes have been sold by Joseph F. Daniele, owner of real estate companies that buy and sell houses. Of the 347 homes that Daniele’s companies have bought and sold, a whopping 73 percent have been foreclosed. If one multiplies Daniele’s foreclosure rate with the number of other real estate brokers across Florida, one can imagine why Florida ranks high on foreclosures by state listings.
Daniele owns Titan Development Group which is one of real estate brokers being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the mortgage fraud unit of the FBI. According to a Tribune report, the former owners of foreclosed properties did not give any down payment to Daniele when they bought the units. But several of the documents found by Tribune showed that buyers paid down payments ranging from $15,000 to $25,000. Misrepresentation of finances to mortgage lenders, one of the major causes of high foreclosures by state, is a violation of federal law.
It has been found in many foreclosure cases across the country that first time home buyers were lured into buying homes by brokers who misrepresented real mortgage terms. Brokers arranged papers so that buyers would not pay down payments and would pay low monthly amortizations during the initial years. They did not care whether the homebuyer would be able to pay the mortgage or not. What they were interested in was the commission they would get from the sale. In Florida, this is one of the major causes of its top ranking in foreclosures by state listings.
Tom DeYampert, city housing manager for Saint Petersburg, said the city will use the $9.5 million it expects to receive from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development to buy foreclosed properties from lenders for rehabilitation. The funding is part of the $3.92 billion that the federal department is giving to state and local governments partly according to their rankings on lists of foreclosures by state.
By Cassiano Travareli