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Florida Caught in a Foreclosure Swamp

With a quarter of the 3.3 million reported American home foreclosures, Florida exemplifies the human suffering, suburban rot and political confusion that have become legacies of the economic and housing crisis. –ARK

Le Monde via The Guardian:

At some locations the misery is especially apparent. At Magnolia Court, a run-down apartment block in Orlando where the perimeter fence is a distant memory, two-thirds of the properties have been foreclosed. When a bankruptcy court has ordered liquidation, the owners wait for the sheriff to come.

Some apartments, purchased by real-estate agents for next to nothing, house tenants looking for the lowest possible rent. Others dwellings, empty and vandalised, have been taken over by squatters and drug dealers. Claiming to be the landlord, crooks extort rent from them.

“I didn’t choose to live here,” says Lucy Hill, who lost her job last autumn. Her home has just been flooded by a neighbouring apartment, open to the four winds.

It is not clear whether the property crash will have any effect on the presidential election in November. “People are not looking for culprits. They’re too busy just surviving. If they’re angry, it’s with the banks,” says Nancy McDonald, a florist in the upmarket Mount Dora area where even houses worth several million dollars have been affected. “Everyone is talking about rising gas prices. That’s what will decide the election.”

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