• 27
  • January
    2011

Churches in Florida and around the country are facing the same challenges in the weak economy as homeowners and owners of commercial real estate; more and more religious organizations are unable to pay their mortgages. A recent article published by The Wall Street Journal discusses the surge in foreclosures on properties owned by church organizations.

According to the WSJ, banks have foreclosed on 200 churches since 2008. Only eight religious facilities were foreclosed upon in the two years before that. In addition, hundreds more churches are close to bankruptcy and foreclosure. One of the highest rates of foreclosure for religious facilities in the U.S. is in Florida, which also has one of the highest rates of home foreclosures.

According to the WSJ, churches across the country ran into problems because the organizations inadvertently purchased property and expanded church facilities for growing congregations right before the real estate bust.

Subsequently, the values of church properties plummeted and, as unemployment rates and home foreclosure rates rose, congregants moved away. As a result, weekly church donations dropped markedly. Many congregations have had to walk away from their mortgages, but some churches have been able to negotiate new terms with their lenders in order to keep their doors open.

Source:

Churches Find End Is Nigh (The Wall Street Journal)