A new federal rule is meant to guard against lending practices that preceded the housing bust.(Photo: Getty Images)
MIAMI (AP) -- Thousands of Florida homeowners who owe far more on mortgages than their houses are worth could get a break under a new $350 million state program.
The Florida Housing Finance Corp. announced Friday that people who meet eligibility requirements will be able to apply online for up to $50,000 to reduce the principal owed on their mortgages. The program is restricted to homeowners who owe 125 percent more on mortgages than their homes are worth. That's considered to be severely underwater on a mortgage.
The program has several other eligibility requirements, including a $350,000 cap on the mortgage owed. The online application process will begin at 9 a.m. on Wednesday at www.principalreductionflhhf.org.
Officials say initially 25,000 applications will be accepted. At least 200,000 homeowners are considered underwater in Florida.
CURT ANDERSON, AP Legal Affairs Writer