Bank Property Foreclosures In South Florida’s Gated Community

by Simon Lindsay on States

The Wellington gated community in South Florida is now home to million-dollar bank property foreclosures. Many of these Versailles mansions that are now in foreclosure were acquired by a group of homebuyers from Opa-Locka. The million-dollar Versailles mansions are a far cry from the cinder-block houses where buyers lived in Opa-Locka.

Many Opa-Locka residents took advantage of buying into the affluent Wellington community which resulted to almost $41 million troubled home loans.

The 25 buyers from Opa-Locka are composed of a cosmetologist, barber, dental technicians and senior people. They took out loans, acquired properties in Wellington and then defaulted on their mortgage payments.

They also left behind unpaid taxes and low property values. Industry experts said that these homeowners also played a significant role in financial bailouts. The troubled loans were packaged with others but eventually become a part of bad loan packages which triggered the financial bailouts for Countrywide Financial Corp. and Goldman Sachs.

Sal Van Casteren, president of the Versailles homeowners’ association, said that the community is trying to survive the impact of bank property foreclosures. He said that at one point, the community was a target by flippers and fraudsters.

According to industry experts, the 451-home Wellington development looks like Versailles, France with its winding roads and ornate entrances. Last year, a task force issued several indictments related to mortgage fraud and two Versailles deals were involved.

According to industry experts, how the group of buyers from Opa-Locka found their way to the gated community in Wellington still remains a mystery to them. They said that the buyers are not connected with each other because they have different lenders, title companies or sellers.

What they have in common are addresses and all of the homes they bought in the Versailles development were foreclosed. One buyer took out a loan of $1.17 million to buy a home with five bedrooms and four and one half bath pools. According to records, this buyer already owns a 25-year-old condominium purchased at $148,000 using in part a $7,500 financial assistance from the homeownership program in Miami-Dade County.

According to industry experts, the fallout of these bank property foreclosures is hardest on residents in the community who were left behind with almost $270,000 unpaid property taxes and abandoned swimming pools which are health and safety hazards.

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