Homeowners in Seattle, Washington are still suffering from the effects of the housing meltdown and recession. For example, Pina Belrano bought a fixer-upper in 2006 when she was gainfully employed and the value of real-estate property justified fixing it up. She sank $100,000 and months of sweat equity into the home and now it is a shining gem on Beacon Hill. However, the recession has put the single mother out of work and the housing crisis knocked the value of the home down to a point where she is underwater. She is presently nine months behind on the mortgage. “So, I poured my heart and soul into it. Now, we don’t know where we’re going,” she said desperately.
She is not alone. Thirty percent of homes, mostly in the south end of Seattle, are underwater. On Tuesday, at a Seattle City Council meeting, a community group called for measures to have the banks reset underwater mortgages to fair market value. When asked if she thought homeowners faced with foreclosure demanded action should have their mortgages reduced, Chattier McAfee said, “Absolutely. They’ve already made their millions and billions off of it.” Troubled homeowners at the meeting were boiling over. “We’ve got to do something!” shouted Jane Gin. “Please take action!”
Nick Licata, Seattle City Council member said, “There are still 20 thousand homes out there that are underwater and subject to possible foreclosure in Seattle.” The City Council commissioned Cornell University to do a study and make recommendations on the conundrum. One of Cornell’s recommendations is to take over the properties under the city’s power of eminent domain and sell them back to homeowners. Council members are considering the idea but a city near San Francisco, California was sued by the federal government when they tried it. Seattle was affected much later than the rest of the country by the foreclosure crisis, according to the Cornell University report.
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