Huffpost Business

Willow Tufano, Florida 14-Year-Old, Buys House With Money Made Off Of Foreclosure Crisis

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

In some places, home values have plummeted so far that even a teenager can get into the housing market. And no, that teenager isn't Justin Bieber.

Willow Tufano, a Florida 14-year-old, recently purchased her first home, NPR reports. Tufano split the $12,000 cost of the house with her mother, but she says she plans to buy mom out by the time she's 18 and put her name on the title. Though Tufano's story may sound outlandish, she isn't the first teen to buy a house; in May 2010, one Ohio 18-year-old bought her first home using cash she'd saved up from state fair winnings, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.

But Tufano likely had a lot more cheap houses to choose from than the Ohio teen. Though the nation as a whole has suffered from the foreclosure crisis, Florida has been particularly hard hit. The state saw an especially robust housing boom in the years leading up to the bust and when the bubble burst, Florida home values came crashing down. Seventeen of the top 25 metro areas for foreclosure rates are in Florida, according to an August report from the Center for Housing Policy.

Indeed, Florida has an extremely high foreclosure rate, with one out of every 363 homes in foreclosure in January, according to RealtyTrac.

The huge number of foreclosures in Tufano's state helped her obtain enough money to ultimately purchase her house. She saved up cash she made through helping investors sell the stuff evicted homeowners left after they moved out of their foreclosed homes, according to NPR.

But Tufano's story is an outlier in a foreclosure crisis that has had a devastating effect on many of the country's and children. As the jobs and housing crisis has hit American families, more and more of them are being pushed into dire circumstances such as living in cars, according to CBS 60 Minutes.

In Florida, residents may be cautiously optimistic. Home prices rose in January in most of South Florida, but that may not indicate a robust recovery. At the beginning of 2010 and 2011, it appeared that home prices had stabilized, but the comebacks didn't stick and the region is still in the midst of its worst economic recovery in multiple generations and possibly since the Great Depression, according to the Miami Herald.

Yet despite its foreclosure problem, Florida is experiencing gains elsewhere. The states hit hardest by the housing collapse led the jobs recovery from August through December, according to Bloomberg.

Around the Web

Tufano's Vernon Park Tap - Little Italy - Chicago, IL 60607 | Check ...

Florida Foreclosures Climb 14% as Lenders Resume Home Seizures

Florida lawmakers consider accelerating foreclosures

Economy improves, but real estate still in depression

Foreclosures will probably rise in 2012 � and that could be a good sign