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Addressing Foreclosures: A Great American Dream Neighborhood Stabilization Plan

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Abstract:

For the first time in 40 years Americans across the country are finding their homes on average are worth less today than they were just the year before. Foreclosures are rampant, up 75 percent nationally last year over 2006, and the number of lender-owned homes nearly doubled in the fourth quarter of 2007 over the same period last year. Among the scores of communities with a growing glut of vacant, lender-owned homes are Stockton, California; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Las Vegas, Nevada, all of which had more than one in every 50 homes foreclosed on in late 2007.

As the dramatic effects of rapid housing deflation become more and more apparent, debating whether subprime borrowers were more at fault than unregulated mortgage companies is no more productive than arguing about whether the negligent camper or the neglected forest clearance practices contributed more to the rapid spread of a wildfire—the first order of business is putting out the fire before it consumes more homes.