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These Floridians Are Feeling The Shutdown The Worst

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FLORIDA REAL ESTATE
In this Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012, photo, a home for sale is shown in Miami Lakes, Fla. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, that the rate on the 30-year loan increased to 3.39 percent from 3.36 percent. The previous week's rate was the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.(AP Photo/Alan Diaz) | AP
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Florida's seniors, students and homebuyers are at significant risk of being hurt by a prolonged partial shutdown of the federal government, according to an analysis released Tuesday.

The study by financial website WalletHub.com said:

--Florida is second only to Hawaii in the role real estate plays in its economy. The two states "stand to suffer the most" because Federal Housing Administration staffing furloughs could lead to a delay in home loans. Mortgage applications may be delayed if lenders can't verify potential homebuyers' income via federal tax records, the study said.

--Florida ranked No. 6 of the 50 states in federal college aid applications per capita in the third quarter. Pell Grants and federal direct student loans this school year won't be affected by the shutdown, but a "drastically reduced staff" may delay the processing of future aid applications, the website said. Student aid may also be cut to balance the budget, said WalletHub.com senior analyst John Kiernan.

--The Sunshine State's economy ranks No. 7 in its reliance on Social Security payments per capita. President Obama said Social Security payments would be disrupted if Congress doesn't agree to raise the debt ceiling.

"We will see more of these segments endure more and more hardship" if the government shutdown continues, said Kiernan.

But politicians will work out an agreement before seniors, students and homebuyers are seriously impacted since they are so crucial to the economy, predicted Jorge Salazar-Carrillo, an economics professor who directs Florida International University's Center of Economic Research.

"I think they will be protected," Salazar-Carrillo said in a telephone interview.

dgehrke@tribune.com or Twitter @donnagehrke ___


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