Tuesday, August 14, 2007



"In Cape Coral, a town near Fort Myers on Florida's sun-drenched Gulf Coast, almost every other house on some of its streets has a for-sale sign outside.

With a bloated inventory of unsold homes and a growing number of homeowners forced by mortgage delinquencies to sell -- thanks to the subprime crisis and ensuing credit crunch -- southwest Florida's once warm clime for property has turned stone-cold.

Linda Setterlund, 61, owns a pristine three-bedroom, two-bath, Cape Coral house that has been on the market for about a year.

At a reduced asking price of $183,900, she said the house had been priced to match what she and her husband owed on it, after moving in three years ago with a 30-year fixed mortgage.

Setterlund said she and her husband had decided to leave the area to join family in Tennessee, but their decision was also prompted by growing real estate taxes and skyrocketing homeowner insurance rates after an active 2005 hurricane season.

"They're saying that we're heading for a recession but I think we're past that," said Setterlund, referring to the housing glut and its effect across much of south Florida.

"I think we're headed more into a depression."


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