New Report from Center for Responsible Lending Shows Communities of Color Bear Brunt of Foreclosure Crisis
October 24, 2012
By: Phil Ting
A report out today from the Center for Responsible Lending puts into stark terms what many of us have long been saying about the foreclosure crisis – communities of color are bearing the largest share of the cost.
The report, Collateral Damage: The Spillover Costs of Foreclosures, details the effects of $2 trillion in “spillover” losses from foreclosures – specifically the deteriorating value of homes surrounding foreclosed properties. And African American and Latino communities have been disproportionately affected, taking more than half of the total spillover losses nationwide.
Even if your home wasn’t foreclosed on, it is very likely that your property value has been reduced by foreclosures in your area. The cost of “spillover” to an average American family is estimated at $21,077 – or about 7.2% of their home value. The average cost to a minority family is far higher – $37,084, or 13.1% of their home value.
Why does this matter? Because home values are typically a huge portion of our nest eggs, losing value here can leave a family particularly vulnerable. Many use home equity as a cushion in the event of a financial emergency, or to cover college tuition or start a business. Today’s news is just another example of how this crisis, largely brought on by irresponsible lenders and Wall Street bankers, has left the middle class and people of color holding the bag.
Spillover losses also mean less of the property tax revenue that supports education, transportation, public safety and other initiatives that keep our communities healthy and safe. When a home is foreclosed on, it’s not just that family that loses – it’s the whole community.
Earlier this year, my office conducted an independent audit of nearly 400 foreclosures in our area over the past three years. We found irregularities and clear legal violations in 84% of the files we reviewed. I feel strongly that more needs to be done to lessen the burden of unfair foreclosures on working Californians. Sacramento and Washington need to step up to improve and enforce laws regulating lenders and the foreclosure process, so home values – a crucial lynchpin of our economy – are protected.
Phil Ting is the Assessor-Recorder of San Francisco.
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