Foreclosures Drain $2 Trillion from Neighboring Homes, Half from Neighborhoods of Color


Center for Responsible Lending
October 24, 2012

Foreclosures across the United States have drained nearly $2 trillion in property value from surrounding households, more than half of it from African-American and Latino homeowners, a new study from the Center for Responsible Lending finds.

The report, “Collateral Damage: The Spillover Costs of Foreclosures,” updates CRL’s research on the economic harm that homeowners suffer by living near foreclosed properties—the “spillover” cost. Also, for the first time, the research examines the impact in minority neighborhoods. Read the full report at http://rspnsb.li/QEz2Jf.

The spillover cost of loans that entered foreclosure between 2007 through 2011 has affected homeowners in neighborhoods all over America, the report finds, but African-American and Latino communities have been especially hard hit. A $1 trillion drain in home equity from minority neighborhoods represents a huge economic setback for homeowners living there. Overall, the average spillover cost per affected family is or will be $21,000 in lost household wealth, representing 7% of home value. In minority neighborhoods, the average loss is or will be $37,000, or $13% of median home values in those neighborhoods.  

The $2 trillion dollar figure estimated in the report represents only part of the total cost of foreclosures, since the spillover costs do not include equity lost by families who are foreclosed on, nor the billions of dollars drained from communities as a result of lost tax revenue, vacant properties, increased crime, and lower school performance by children.

“CRL’s report is troubling evidence of how much the economic costs of foreclosures are spilling over into communities all over America,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.. “Communities of color – which have been targeted for years by predatory lenders, and abused for years by mortgage servicers – have been practically drowning. Until policymakers get serious about reducing foreclosures and restoring meaningful home ownership in all communities, a full economic recovery will likely remain out of reach.”

Janet Murguia, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, agrees: “The wealth drain triggered by foreclosures is continuing unabated, hurting Latino families and other vulnerable communities the hardest. We’re calling on policymakers to show strong leadership in stopping the foreclosure crisis and making fair and sustainable housing a national priority.”

For more information: Kathleen Day at (202) 349-1871 or kathleen.day@responsiblelending.org; or Ginna Green at (510) 866-5989 or ginna.green@responsiblelending.org.

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About the Center for Responsible Lending

The Center for Responsible Lending is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and policy organization dedicated to protecting homeownership and family wealth by working to eliminate abusive financial practices. CRL is affiliated with Self-Help, one of the nation's largest community development financial institutions.