California Towns Might Use Eminent Domain To Seize, Restructure Underwater Mortgages

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California Towns Might Use Eminent Domain To Seize, Restructure Underwater Mortgages

California Towns Might Use Eminent Domain To Seize, Restructure Underwater Mortgages

HuffPO-

In a sign of desperate times, some California city officials may be using some drastic measures to help the glut of struggling borrowers.

In California’s San Bernardino County, and in the cities of Fontana and Ontario, policymakers are considering a plan to use eminent domain — that civic power that allows a government to seize whatever property it likes — as a way to acquire the mortgages of distressed homeowners and restructure them in a way that allows the borrowers to stay in their homes.

This plan isn’t without its detractors, though. Banking and housing groups have warned that if municipal governments start going around refinancing mortgages at will, it could lead to big losses for the investors in those home loans — which means those investors might be less likely to extend credit in those towns in the future.

But advocates of the plan say it’s a way for these California towns to gain some forward momentum in moving past the housing crisis. Last month, the Yale economist Robert Shiller argued in The New York Times that the idea that “the problem will solve itself through a spontaneous rally in home prices” is simply “wishful thinking.”

[HUFFINGTON POST]

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