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Although South Florida has come a long way since the Great Recession – and is thankfully projected to continue improving – it is still struggling with the legacy of the housing crasher. The region has a higher-than-average rate of debt in collections, with a large percentage of homeowners unable to obtain mortgages and other necessary debt.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, which cites research by the Urban Institute, the rate of debt in collections – unpaid bills turned over to collect agencies – is almost 40 percent among South Floridians with a credit history. The average amount past due is $6,767 — $1,600 more than the average U.S. collections account.

This debt varies from unpaid medical bills (also the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the country) to past-due credit card balances. With South Florida residents owing 30 percent than the U.S. average, numerous challenges remain. Debt in collections can remain on someone’s credit report until seven years past due, stifling the vital capacity to take on the “good debt” that is incurred for a house payment, starting a business, or making other big but necessary purchases.

Though much of this is attributed to unpaid medical expenses, especially among the uninsured, analysts suggest that many residents are racking up debt so as to maintain homes, automobiles, and other luxuries they cannot afford. This issue in large part explains the trend among young South Floridians for small rentals, used cars, staying in with parents, and other ways to save money and postpone big purchases.

Needless to say, in light of this development, the importance of having a Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy Attorney on one’s side cannot be understated. An experienced and professional Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy Lawyer can help mitigate the consequences of debt.