That’s how many residential properties the U. S. government now has in its possession, the result of record numbers of people defaulting on government backed mortgages. Washington is sitting on nearly a 3rd of the nation’s 800,000 repossessed houses, making the U. S. taxpayer the largest owner of foreclosed properties.
With even more homes moving toward default, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration are looking for a way to unload them without swamping the already depressed real estate market.
They haven’t figured out how to do that. The government admitted as much in August, when Fannie, Freddie and FHA issued a joint plea to the public for ideas about how to solve the problem (email ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Since the 2008 financial collapse, the government has spent billions of dollars trying to stabilize neighborhoods. The results have been disappointing. The Obama Administration has helped about 657,000 homeowners, far short of its goal of 3 to 4 million. Many families hit hardest by the housing downturn are concentrated in states that are recovering from the recession, including Florida, Ohio and Nevada.
The government’s call for ideas is a sign it is deluged with repossessions and struggling to figure out what to do with 248,000 foreclosed homes it took over.
references: lorraine woellert, clea benson, bloomberg businessweek, donsrealty