Homeownership Rates Falling

guest blog by Deborah Goonan

 Last week the Orlando Sentinel published an excellent but concise article about the decrease in homeownership rates in Central Florida. The Sentinel reports that homeownership rates have slipped from 77% a decade ago to 66% in 2014, and at only 59% in newer neighborhoods built in the past decade.

Florida, and the Orlando Metro area in particular, suffered some of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation. So naturally, a lot of former homeowners with poor credit have now become renters. Large real estate investment firms have snatched up distressed homes at bargain prices, and turned them into rental properties. Owners interviewed for the Sentinel article lament the fact that their neighborhoods have seen a substantial influx of out-of-state landlords leasing to transient renters, and a decline in yard maintenance and property values. Large real estate investment firms have no problem paying fees for various code violations, as they collect healthy rental income.

Long-time permanent residents express concern over the lack of community cohesion, brought about by the stark decrease in homeownership rates – in some communities, reportedly as low as 37%.

Unfortunately, no public entity bothers to collect vital data specific to HOAs. Data encompasses homeownership in general.

But since the vast, vast majority of homes in Florida are in some sort of HOA – particularly anything built in the last 30 years – might we safely assume a correlation between a high percentage of HOA properties, higher than national average foreclosure rates, and lower home ownership rates in “newer” communities? You make the call.

(link to Orlando Sentinel article, homeownership fades in Central Florida)



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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

1 thought on “Homeownership Rates Falling

  1. Cynthia

    Thank you Deborah for another brilliant and insightful blog. I believe your correlations are correct. I believe we are going to see more and more failures of HOAs as costs become more unmanageable and HOA homeowners become frustrated uncontrollable costs, dysfunctional and self serving HOA boards and states that don’t care about them, their issues, or providing any consumer protections, enforceability of existing laws, or oversight.


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