Foreclosed families push back against bidders

March 12, 2009 5:31:22 PM PDT
Foreclosures are on the rise around the country, and Alameda County is no exception.

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The Cardenas family is trying desperately to keep their home. The home is already in foreclosure, and on Thursday they almost lost it to the highest bidder at a foreclosure auction.

On the steps of the Alameda County courthouse, those facing foreclosures tried to save their homes from being sold on the auction block. In Armando Cardenas' case, they were successful. They erected tents to send a message and scared potential buyers away with their loud chants.

"I'm in foreclosure and I'm about to lose my house," said Cardenas. "That's why I'm here to try to keep my house."

In other cases, they lost the battle and real estate investors won.

"Because these properties are already scheduled for public sale, they should be protesting with the lenders." said Robert Kramer who represents a real estate investor.

Numbers released Thursday show Alameda County had more than 2,500 foreclosures last month alone -- one out of every 218 homes. The county ranks 27th in the state and has seen a 27 percent jump in foreclosures since February of 2008.

"In places like east Oakland, there was an awful lot of subprime lending going on and in many cases people were put into loans they simply couldn't afford at the end of the day," said Rick Sharga, senior vice president with RealtyTrac.

Oakland mortgage broker George Tribble says even all the new assistance programs in place haven't helped.

"They all sound very good on paper, but the implementation is very slow," said Tribble.

For Cardenas, the bank still owns his house, but he can stay in it for now until it comes back on the auction block.

When and if the Cardenas family is finally forced to move of their house, they will be like thousands of others in their neighborhood. The section of east Oakland that the family lives has the highest rate of foreclosures in the entire city. There are currently more than a thousand bank-owned homes.

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