Cities considering eminent domain as fix for underwater mortgages

The Huffington Post

Ask Vice Mayor Angelique Ashby what pushed her to this point — the point at which she is openly considering using city authority to seize and write down mortgages — and she’ll tell you about the two school teachers who live on her block.

They had figured their unassuming single-family home would rise in value over the decades, functioning as the primary storehouse for their savings. In their working years, they would enjoy a pleasant place to live. Upon retirement, they would have an asset to sell to finance their later years.

Now, as they approach retirement, their would-be asset is just another “underwater” home in a community saturated with them. Like the vast majority of homeowners in the North Natomas neighborhood here in California’s capital, the teachers owe the bank more than their home is worth.

“How are they supposed to capitalize on the largest single purchase they will ever make?” Ashby asks. “That’s not going to happen in their lifetime.”

What is happening is an unrelenting diminishment of expectations for many of the 58,000 people who live in North Natomas, a wrenching process that has replaced traditional thoughts of upward mobility with an everyday struggle to hang on.

Nearly 70 percent of the homeowners in Ashby’s zip code are underwater, according to RealtyTrac, an online marketplace that specializes in foreclosures. Nearly half are considered “seriously underwater,” meaning the homeowners owe the bank at least 125 percent of the value of their property.


If interested in discussing real estate matters, you can contact Jordan Rose, RLG founder, managing partner,



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