Foreclosure yields lower home values in Bay Area

September 22, 2011 7:41:09 PM PDT
Bayview resident Vivian Richardson is scheduled to be evicted from her home of 13 years on October 1. The bank has foreclosed on the property, even though she's tried for months to get her loan modified.

"The banks have been bailed out, and now it seems we're getting kicked out," Richardson said.

Richardson is not alone -- on the block where she lives, Richardson said many of her neighbors are facing the same ordeal.

A new report by two non-profit groups spells out the devastating financial blow to Bay Area neighborhoods -- not just to the foreclosed homeowner, but to property values throughout.

According to the report, from 2008 to 2012 San Francisco homeowners are expected to lose nearly $7 billion in home values. In San Jose, that value is at $22 billion, and in Oakland, the expected loss is $12 billion.

One of the study's authors believes there's no end in sight.

"What if we were to say, okay, we'll only invest our dollars in a bank that'll make it easier for property owners to modify their loans?" questioned San Francisco supervisor John Avalos.

Other proposals need state approval, including one pushed by San Francisco's tax assessor. Phil Ting wants to require disclosure of exactly who holds the bank -- your bank or a subsidiary.

"If we shed light and have more transparency, then many of these investors could be held accountable for their actions," Ting said.

But for homeowners like Richardson, those strategies come a little too late.

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