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Central Florida: better economy, but foreclosures remain high

As an indication of just how hard many Floridians were hit in their pocketbooks during what has now been historically termed the Great Recession that struck several years ago and continues to linger with strongly adverse effects, consider this: Although measurements across several fronts indicate that many people in the Orlando area and throughout Central Florida have clawed back from near financial ruin within the past two years, the region as a whole continues to be ravaged by economic malaise and uncertainty.

In fact, and while the number of people declaring bankruptcy in the region has unquestionably fallen since 2011, Orlando continues to have the dubious distinction of being the nation's "most financially distressed" metropolitan area.

That dichotomy flatly puzzles many bankruptcy and debt relief experts. One of them, a trustee for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Orlando, says in discussing the overall drop in bankruptcy filings despite the area's sobering economic statistics overall that, "I really don't know why it has happened."

This anomalous fact persists: While more people in Central Florida have stabilized their finances, a consistently high number of households have gone into foreclosure. In fact, research group RealtyTrac states that Orlando led the nation in foreclosures during the third quarter of 2012.

What does that all mean? Are things getting broadly better? Better just for some? Is another bubble about to burst?

Truly, people who closely examine the problem are not consistently on the same page with their analysis and conclusions. It has been noted that many people are continuing to seek the protections and the fresh start offered by bankruptcy for many disparate reasons, including unemployment, divorce or severe and unexpected health problems.

It is of course important for anyone considering bankruptcy to have a thorough accounting and understanding of the process. An experienced Florida bankruptcy attorney is a key resource for accomplishing that goal.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Orlando bankruptcies fall for 2nd-straight year, heading for lowest mark since 2008," Richard Burnett, Dec. 30, 2012

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