"More than $106 million in home loans collapsed in Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties in the first quarter of this year alone, according to a Palm Beach Post analysis of data collected by RealeSTAT.com, a local commercial firm that gathers foreclosure and default records. A little more than $68 million in mortgages defaulted in the first quarter of 2005. In terms of real people, that translates to about 2,100 families in danger of losing their homes. Experts say the worst is yet to come.
'We know the whale is coming, we just don't know how big the whale is,' said Mike Flagg, a spokesman for the Center for Responsible Lending, a Washington nonprofit that tracks lending practices. What is known is that, rich and poor alike, South Florida homeowners are on a collision course with the fast-money mortgages and loose state regulation that injected extra risk into a region ripe for exploitation."