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PALM BEACH, FL-Locally based Union Equity Inc. says it is pursuing foreclosure opportunities in parts of South Florida. It is going after properties that have entered the lis penden stage, meaning that the owner has missed at least three mortgage payments and the lender has filed a first document to initiate foreclosure proceedings.

“We’re seeing several new foreclosures a day in our target areas,” says Michael Anthony, Union Equity’s CEO, in a statement. “We’re systematically contacting select property owners of condominiums and single-family residences and offering them a way out.” Calls to Anthony were not returned by deadline, but, according to the company’s statement, “whereas six months ago foreclosure listings were relatively sparse, the number of properties entering foreclosure is rising rapidly.”

The statement attributes the “recent spike” to “the interest-only, refinancing boom that occurred several years ago. Many of these loans featured enticing teaser rates and low monthly mortgage payments for the first three years. Now that the three-year locked period has expired, applicable interest rates have adjusted upward. Many homeowners are finding themselves in the awkward position of having to meet a monthly mortgage payment that may be as much as 50% higher than they are accustomed to,” the statement adds.

On condition of anonymity, the head of a Palm Beach County foreclosure listing service tells GlobeSt.com that home prices in this county are up more than 25% this year, making it possible for condo and home buyers to “sell and escape” before their interest rates spike. He acknowledges, however, that there are signs that home prices are “leveling. That, compounded with no appreciable increase in wages, rising taxes and even current high fuel costs, could put more owners in jeopardy.”

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