Closed sales of existing single-family homes rose 10.2 percent statewide in the first quarter of 2013 over the comparable period last year, Florida Realtors reported today. The trade group said the state’s housing market showed strength with more pending sales, higher median prices and a reduced supply of homes for sale. [Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
With tens of thousands of foreclosure cases clogged in the state's courts, the Florida Supreme Court is signing off on a plan to use lawyers - and not judges - to handle them.
The court on Thursday issued an order that will allow chief judges across the state to use "general magistrates" to process foreclosure cases.
Dozens of Florida community health centers serving the poor and uninsured — including 10 in Miami-Dade and Broward counties — are eligible for a share of $8 million in federal funds to help uninsured individuals obtain health coverage when new marketplaces established under the Affordable Care Act open Oct. 1, U.S. Health and Human Services officials announced Thursday. [Source: Miami Herald]
Lawmakers included a 3 percent tuition increase in next year's budget, but state universities say they aren't counting on the extra money. Most expect Gov. Rick Scott to veto the modest tuition increase when he signs the state budget into law in the coming weeks. [Source: Times/Herald]
Florida had the nation's highest mortgage delinquency rate at 11 percent at the end of the first quarter, TransUnion Corp. reported. The Sunshine State’s delinquency rate of borrowers 60 or more days past due on their loans was more than twice the national average of 4.56 percent for the first quarter. [Source: Orlando Business Journal]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› South Florida's big Super Bowl plans may be for naught [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
It would be a whale of a party. There is a good chance it won't happen. The committee seeking to bring Super Bowl L or LI to South Florida revealed the details of a progressive hosting proposal submitted Wednesday to the NFL.
» See also: Miami’s Super Bowl 50 plan “would have been” something
› Orlando developers to lose tax break [Orlando Sentinel]
Orange County has lost more in property taxes than any other Florida county because of a tax break meant for nonprofit-housing groups but which largely benefited companies that develop low-income apartment complexes.
› Student Maid expands classy cleaning model to Pensacola [Gainesville Sun]
When Kristen Hadeed asked her parents four years ago for a $100 pair of Lucky brand jeans, they told her to get a job. Hadeed, then a 20-year-old UF junior, took their advice. She posted ads on Craigslist offering to clean houses and started an enterprise that now employs more than 300 college students during peak season.
› Lightning owner Jeff Vinik talks about future development plans [Tampa Bay Times]
It's been a rough year for Jeff Vinik, at least by multimillionaire standards. His hockey team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, missed the playoffs. He decided to close his multibillion-dollar hedge fund, Vinik Asset Management LP. And he is no longer involved in the restoration of Channelside Bay Plaza. But he still has grand plans.
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› Senate President Don Gaetz's former company sued for Medicaid fraud [Times/Herald]
The U.S. Department of Justice has sued the hospice company founded by Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, accusing the company of engaging in Medicare fraud for more than 11 years, including during the time Gaetz was vice chairman.
› Tampa restaurant scraps lion-meat tacos after furor [UPI]
A South Florida restaurant has stood out by selling tacos with exotic meats like bison, shark and ostrich. But its latest addition of lion meat has caused some anger in the community.
› Could the Mess in Miami Pave the Way for the LA Dolphins? [Bleacher Report]
The Miami Dolphins have become embroiled in a nasty impasse with the Florida Legislature over the funding of improvements to Sun Life Stadium. That impasse has all but certainly cost South Florida a chance to host Super Bowl L or Super Bowl LI. Could it cost them the Dolphins altogether?
› Hollywood Police Department losing some officers to BSO [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Nineteen officers plan to trade in their Hollywood badges to take jobs with the Broward Sheriff's Office in the next few weeks, a union official said. The exodus comes at a time of lingering outrage over pay cuts and drastic pension reform. The cuts were made after the city declared financial urgency in 2011.