The Foreclosure Crisis: Is It Too Late For Politicians To Make A Difference?

The San Diego City Council this month approved the creation of a foreclosure registry, which requires banks to log every San Diego city home in the foreclosure process into a city-run database. Local experts are almost unanimous that this is NOT an idea whose time has come.

• Paul Barnes: President of Shea Homes San Diego: No. Oh, boy, some of the finest and brightest have been at it again. Not only are they late for the wedding, but junior was born and is off to college … This one is right up there with the recently approved Abandoned Property Ordinance whereby you have to notify the police department that you plan to abandon your property. You couldn’t dream this stuff up.

• Murtaza Baxamusa: Directs planning and development for the Family Housing Corporation:  Vacant and abandoned homes depressed property values in neighborhoods through the “broken glass” effect and fiscally impacted the municipal tax base. Displacement also exerted an economic, health and human toll on at-risk families. However, the foreclosure hurricane has passed us, with defaults falling to their lowest level since the turbulence of the Great Recession.

• Kurt Branstetter: Loan officer and mortgage manager at W.J. Bradley Mortgage: No. A registry for distressed properties would have been a great idea … in 2008. However, establishing such a registry today is a day late and many taxpayers dollars short. Any potential benefit derived from this registry today is more than offset by establishing another government bureaucracy. While the tsunami of foreclosures has waned, a government bureaucracy will never go away.

• Alan Nevin: Economist and a principal at London Group Realty Advisers: San Diego is not the first city to have an ordinance of this type. It is, of course, locking the barn after the horse is gone. Fortunately, our foreclosures have diminished substantially and should return to normalcy by next year.

These experts believe that San Diego is three or four years too late in acting on the problem, but is that fair, or even accurate? As recently as August, 2012, experts were predicting another wave of foreclosures  because the moratorium resulting from the robo-signing scandal is ending. How many people were so ahead of the curve in 2008-2009 to understand the depth of the real estate crisis in our country? What do you think, did we all have blinders on at the end of the last decade, or is hindsight 20/20? Please tell me your thoughts in the comments.

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