- Keep properties from becoming abandoned, thus helping maintain property values in the neighborhood, and reducing the likelihood of entire neighborhoods becoming victims of foreclosures;
- Prevent properties from being stripped of copper pipes and other valuable items, thus helping to maintain that property’s value;
- Prevent properties from becoming blights or magnets for squatters and crime;
- Temporarily house those who have lost ownership of their homes, and house tenants who rent from a foreclosed-upon owner;
- Provide lenders with monthly income while they determine whether to put the property back up for sale;
- Provide a mechanism for the eviction of tenants that makes it easier for a lender to move a property to a new owner;
- Provide an incentive for lenders who are considering foreclosure to modify those loans.
Here are the facts that support this legislation:
- Every time one house is foreclosed upon on one city block, the value of all houses on that block declines 1% and crime increases 2% –immediately;
- There have been multiple studies linking foreclosure and abandonment rates to increased violent crime statistics. One study shows that a 2.8 percent increase in foreclosures corresponds to a 6.7 percent increase in violent crime;
- The Boston Department of Neighborhood Development reports that there were 1,215 foreclosure deeds in 2008, a 73 percent increase over 2007;
- According to DND, the median residential sales price in the five neighborhoods with the highest rates of foreclosure (Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Mattapan, and Roxbury) has decreased over the last four years by between 23 and 40 percent. The residential sales prices for the rest of Boston on average remains relatively stable over that period;
- From 2008 through April 2009, Massachusetts had nearly 21,000 foreclosures, with a cumulative property value loss of nearly $3 billion, accounting for $24.5 million in lost property taxes. Because of Prop 2 ½, those property taxes don’t disappear entirely, they are simply shifted to other neighborhoods. So in Boston, residents in neighborhoods who have been impacted less directly by the foreclosure crisis are required to pay higher property taxes.
This foreclosure crisis is hitting close to home in many ways, and requires work at all levels of government. President Barack Obama is proposing assistance on the federal level. Governor Deval Patrick is looking at ways to help at the state level. Those of us at the municipal level have a responsibility to play a role in leading us out of this situation. In Boston, I believe good policies like these can help us emerge from the recession stronger than ever. Please support our efforts.