Councilmember Nick Licata
Council To Receive New Home Foreclosure Report
Seattle - Councilmember Nick Licata issued the following statement on a forthcoming Council committee presentation on a Seattle housing foreclosures:
"More than one third of Seattle's home mortgage total - about 42,000 homes - is underwater with an average negative equity of approximately $92,000. Nationally, 19.4% of home mortgages are underwater, with average negative equity of approximately $73,000.
"Last Spring the Council voted on Resolution 31434 and agreed to review the data on the causes of foreclosures and the practices of lenders, including inequities people face when foreclosure proceedings occur. Further, the Council decided then to explore all legal options to assist low-income homeowners who continue to suffer from the housing crisis.
"The Council hired Professor Robert C. Hockett, a noted Cornell University law professor and resident consultant with the Federal Reserve Bank, to prepare a report on local solutions on the foreclosure crisis. The report is complete. In it we learn that foreclosures were, for a time, delayed in Washington because early enactment legislation and implementing programs delayed foreclosure. Today though, because these programs did not address the root causes of negative home equity, Washington's underwater loans are increasingly falling into foreclosure.
"On Wednesday, September 11, Professor Hockett will be joining my 2 p.m. Housing, Human Services, Health and Culture committee to present the report findings and recommendations. Washington's twin negative equity and foreclosure crises are steadily growing worse. My goal in leading the Council review of this report will be to focus on recommendations that address the root cause of the problem rather than temporary fixes. Council deliberations should focus on strategies to target negative equity and find means of keeping people in, or returning to, their homes."