Friday, 9 December 2011

Now it's 'Occupy foreclosed homes'

Members of the Occupy Wall Street movement rally around a foreclosed home during a march in East New York earlier this week.

(CNN) -- Neighbors said the house on Vermont Street in Brooklyn's East New York neighborhood had been vacant for years. Three years ago the now-defunct predatory lending bank Countrywide refused to renegotiate the ballooning interest rate on a mortgage filled with hidden clauses and traps. Instead, Countrywide sold the mortgage to Bank of America, which, in turn, initiated foreclosure proceedings. In the East New York neighborhood, one of the poorest parts of the United States, more than 16 per 1,000 homes are in foreclosure, the highest rate in New York City and one of the highest nationwide.
Banks are foreclosing on homes at rates far faster than they can sell them. In a report released this week, the Government Accountability Office, the independent research arm of Congress, found an increasing percentage of homes are going unused due to high rates of foreclosure and unemployment: "Nonseasonal vacant properties have increased 51% nationally from nearly 7 million in 2000 to 10 million in April 2010, with 10 states seeing increases of 70% or more," the report said.
In our down housing market, most foreclosed homes sit vacant for years and, neglected by the banks, fall into disrepair and further blight neighborhoods. You can literally walk down any block in East New York and see every sixth house or so boarded up. One study in Los Angeles estimated that, between 2008 and 2012, all homeowners will lose $78.8 billion in home values due to foreclosure rates and blighted homes in their neighborhoods.

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