Economy
11:26 am
Sat February 25, 2012

Task force: Michigan's foreclosure crisis cost $63 billion so far

A new task force says $63 billion dollars of Michigan’s housing value was lost between 2006 and 2010.

The Michigan Foreclosure Task Force teamed with Grand Valley State University’s Community Research Institute. They've launched a new Web site that shows the impact of the crisis, county by county.

Steve Tobocman is with the task force. He says more than 400,000 Michigan properties were touched by foreclosure in the five-year period they studied.

"The impacts were truly historic," Tobocman says. "We haven't seen anything like this since the Great Depression."

He says Michigan could see another 100,000  foreclosures in the coming year.

"We've seen some politicians thinking this was news that was in the past, and not something that they need to worry about -- when the reality is, we're still in the middle of this crisis, and we need to be working together and paying attention to solutions that work," Tobocman says.

He says more a third of Michigan homeowners who have a mortgage are underwater, meaning they owe more than the property is worth.

Tobocman says the crisis is not just an urban problem.

"None of these 83 counties have escaped loss of property value or increase in vacancies," he says. "In fact, when you look at rural counties in Michigan, they're following the exact trend lines urban counties faced."

The task force is about to roll out a Web-based tool kit that will help homeowners connect with organizations in their own communities to deal with the housing crisis. Tobocman says the site will offer access to housing counseling, legal services and ideas for marketing foreclosed properties, as well as acquisition and rehabilitation of foreclosed properties.

"Folks are not powerless," Tobocman says. "But there is no silver bullet. What the foreclosure task force is designed to do is help communities deal with this crisis."