Underwater America Report

Underwater America report


The Haas Institute has just released a new report entitled Underwater America: How the So-Called Housing Recovery is Bypassing Many CommunitiesDownload the full report here.

The report was launched at a national press conference on May 8 in Richmond, CA, in order to highlight the problem of widespread “underwater mortgages” – homeowners stuck in loans for more than their home is worth- which persists in many communities across the country. The report identifies the nation’s most troubled hot spots: the cities, metro areas and communities where the highest proportion of homeowners still have negative equity, or are “underwater.”  The report’s authors argue that market forces alone will not bring the recovery to these severely impacted communities, and call for local or federal intervention to reduce mortgage principal.

PRESS COVERAGE

NATIONAL

http://www.nationaljournal.com/next-america/economic-empowerment/where-homeowners-are-still-underwater-20140626

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/09/opinion/what-housing-recovery.html

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/08/us-usa-housing-minorities-idUSBREA4713020140508

http://www.americanbanker.com/bankthink/morning-scan-more-fighting-over-fannie-freddie-yellen-on-shadow-banks-1067403-1.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-dreier/post_7590_b_5313595.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/17/opinion/avoiding-foreclosure-a-view-from-the-treasury-dept.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/after-foreclosure-an-eff ort-to-repurchase-a-home/2014/07/25/1296966e-1142-11e4-8936-26932bcfd6ed_story.html?tid=busocial 

CALIFORNIA

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/05/08/uc-berkeley-study-looks-at-underwater-mortgage-problem-supports-richmonds-eminent-domain-plan/

http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_25725683/underwater-homes-minorities-still-suffering-from-housing-collapse

http://www.contracostatimes.com/business/ci_25725683/underwater-homes-minorities-still-suffering-from-housing-collapse

http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/uc-berkeley-report-calls-for-action-on-underwater-homes

http://www.baycitynews.com/bcn/general/05/newsclip.14.05.09.21.51.00.1.txt

http://www.timesheraldonline.com/news/ci_25728872/vallejo-among-top-u-s-cities-mortgages-underwater

http://richmondstandard.com/2014/05/richmond/

http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140510/A_BIZ/405130302/-1/a_biz

http://www.modbee.com/2014/05/13/3338939/stanislaus-countys-home-affordability.html?sp=/99/1623/

CONNECTICUT

http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Bridgeport-lands-on-top-10-underwater-mortgage-5472872.php

http://www.courant.com/business/real-estate/hc-hartford-tops-underwater-home-mortgages-story,0,1021185.htmlstory

http://www.courant.com/business/real-estate/hc-underwater-mortgages-in-connecticut-20140508,0,452800.htmlpage

http://www.rep-am.com/business/802799.txt

http://wnpr.org/post/homes-hartford-top-list-underwater-cities

http://connecticut.cbslocal.com/2014/05/09/hartford-hardest-hit-by-underwater-mortgages/

http://www.wfsb.com/story/25471944/report-hartford-top-city-with-underwater-mortgages

http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/article/20140508/NEWS01/140509915

http://www.ctnow.com/business/hc-hartford-underwater-mortgages-20140508,0,332458.story

http://wnpr.org/post/lawmakers-avert-legal-aid-cuts-q-poll-shows-gubernatorial-race-deadlocked

WISCONSIN

http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/purple-wisconsin/258542721.html

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/wells-fargo-injects-515-million-into-milwaukee-home-buyer-program-b99265500z1-258493141.html

http://milwaukeecourieronline.com/index.php/2014/05/10/report-shows-housing-crisis-far-from-over-for-milwaukee/
http://milwaukeecourieronline.com/index.php/2014/05/17/state-action-needed-to-solve-milwaukees-foreclosure-crisis/

http://www.wisconsingazette.com/trending-news/tiny-homes-big-solutions.html

NEW JERSEY

www.njspotlight.com/stories/14/05/09/nj-still-drowning-in-underwater-mortgages-new-study-reveals

ST. LOUIS

http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/st-louis-is-hot-spot-for-underwater-mortgages/article_1a9b46b5-38f4-5b93-b4b4-e895f8e0bab5.html

http://www.kansas.com/2014/05/10/3449242/st-louis-area-hotspot-for-underwater.html

http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/mailbag/letters-to-the-editor/lots-of-opportunities-to-buy-in-north-county/article_4907c724-5478-5e80-af48-a7d79fede68d.html

DETROIT

http://wdet.org/shows/craig-fahle-show/episode/homes-underwater-detroit/

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-05-13/business/sns-rt-us-usa-detroit-housing-20140513_1_bankrupt-detroit-modifications-housing-market

http://metrotimes.com/news/news-hits/redefining-eminent-domain-1.1684933

MEMPHIS

http://www.bizjournals.com/memphis/news/2014/05/12/report-housing-recovery-is-skipping-memphis.html

ORLANDO

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2014-05-07/business/os-orlando-home-cash-buyers-20140507_1_realtytrac-report-metro-orlando-orlando-area

ATLANTA

http://atlantablackstar.com/2014/05/31/homeowners-color-still-underwater/

CHARLESTON, SC

http://www.charlestonchronicle.net/83287/2152/housing-recovery-ignores-black-and-latino-communities

In the first report of its kind, the authors analyze negative equity and foreclosure data together with race and income data, at a zip code level, as well as city and metropolitan area. The report uncovers the depth of the housing problem that persists in these hard hit communities, as well as how the legacy of predatory lending has meant a disproportionate negative impact on African American and Latino communities. One in ten Americans live in the 100 hardest hit cities where the number of underwater homeowners range from 22% to 56%, the report says.

REPORT AUTHORS: Peter Dreier, Professor of Politics and chair of the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental CollegeSaqib Bhatti, Fellow at the Nathan Cummings FoundationRob Call, graduate student in urban planning at the Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyAlex Schwartz, Professor of Urban Policy at the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy at The New School; and Gregory Squires, Professor of Sociology and Public Policy & Public Administration and chair of the Department of Sociology at The George Washington University.

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE REPORT

1. Loan holders—banks, government sponsored enterprises (i.e., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are regulated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, FHFA), and investors—should reduce the principal on underwater mortgages to current market values.

2. If loan holders are unwilling or unable to reduce the principal on underwater mortgages to current market values, they should allow these loans to be purchased by publicly-owned or nonprofit entities that are willing to restructure them with fair and affordable terms.

3. Local municipalities should use all options at their disposal to facilitate the goal of resetting mortgages to current market values, including the use of “reverse eminent domain” (the program proposed in Richmond, California and elsewhere) to acquire mortgages in order to restructure them with fair and affordable terms.

4. Banks, government sponsored enterprises like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and investors that own vacant homes that have already been foreclosed upon should sell them to publicly- owned or nonprofit entities that can convert them to affordable housing units for residents of the community instead of selling them to speculators.

5. Local municipalities should use all options at their disposal to facilitate the goal of turning vacant, foreclosed homes into affordable housing. This includes the use of “reverse eminent domain” to acquire properties in order to convert them to af- fordable housing units for residents of the community and to prevent them from being purchased by speculators.


Fact Sheets on Hardest-Hit Areas

View specific reports on the hardest-hit cities and neighborhoods. 

California Cities

Georgia ZIP Codes

Antioch, CA

Atlanta, GA

Baltimore, MD

Cincinnati, OH

Cleveland, OH

Coachella, CA

Detroit, MI

Hartford, CT

Irvington, NJ

Milwaukee, WI

Minneapolis, MN

New York, NY

Newark, NJ

Richmond, CA

San Pablo, CA

Seattle, WA

Vallejo, CA.pdf