Federal Official Visits Reno to Address Foreclosure Crisis
In a state where so many have been touched by foreclosure, Nevada Treasurer Kate Marshall's story is a familiar one. When she was 8, her dad lost his job…her family lost their home. As she told us, "In those days, the process was the sheriff came and put your things out on the street." A painful event? "Very, yes."
It's a pain that is still being felt too often today. After the collapse of the housing bubble, Nevada is still not out of it yet. Unemployment is still high and folks still need help making payments. Otherwise, more foreclosures could keep Nevada #1 in foreclosures for 6 straight years. As local realtor Mike Young told us, "I've gone through a lot of ups and downs. This has just been the longest, deepest trench we've been stuck in."
Mike has been in real estate here for 32 years. For the past 6, he's been looking for that encouraging sign. "Of course, of course. We've got to work through this, keep putting our heads down. I mean, we're better today."
But if there is a turnaround, it's hard to spot. 1 in 16 Nevada homes received a foreclosure filing last year. For the first quarter of 2012, there was 1 foreclosure filing for every 95 housing units, compared to a national rate of one per 230 residences.
Nevada foreclosure activity did drop 26.2% from 4th quarter 2011, and 61.5% from the first quarter of last year. But that was likely due to AB 284, the law passed by the state legislature last October that makes it harder for lenders to foreclose.
Today, the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development came to Reno to promote 3 new bills. Shaun Donovan told us, "These are bills that have had bipartisan support in the past, and we want to see them pass in congress as quickly as possible."
The first would help generate more competition between lenders. The second would offer refinancing to all...not just Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and FHA loans:
-SENATE BILL 3085- would improve competition among lenders
-SENATE BILL 3047- would extend refinancing to families without U.S. government loans
The third, Senate Bill 2909, would help homeowners pay for projects to raise neighborhood values, covering the closing costs for loans undertaken to rebuild home equity. As Donovan said, "We would cover those closing costs and allow those families to refinance for free."
His visit was to generate support for the bills so that they pass Congress. The hope is that some federal help will start that long-awaited turnaround. Kate Marshall knows though, "It's not going to happen tomorrow, and I think people know that."
If you'd like to avoid a foreclosure of your home, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has a helpful web site for Nevadans.
Saturday, May 25 2013 2:16 AM EDT2013-05-25 06:16:04 GMT
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