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Underwater and Sinking: The Housing Situation in Las Vegas
Underwater and Sinking: The Housing Situation in Las Vegas

AIR DATE: August 31, 2011

When it comes to housing, Las Vegas consistently ranks near the top for most foreclosures and underwater mortgages.  And this forces many Las Vegans who are underwater to make a choice: stay or walk away?  How has the housing situation changed this past year?  What decisions has it forced Las Vegans to make, and how has it affected the culture and optimism of the city?  Also, what does our real estate situation look like to the rest of the world?  We talk to experts, plus some homeowners on how their lives have changed.  Also, special guest Lawrence Pollard from the BBC joins our panel to see how one of the country's worst foreclosure rates can change an American city.
Lawrence Pollard, BBC
Brent White, law professor, University of Arizona; author, "Underwater Home: What Should You Do if You Owe More on Your Home than It's Worth?"
Tom Blanchard, broker and owner, REO Asset Services, First Realty Group
Rory Reid, attorney and former Clark County Commissioner
Krystal Hosmer, strategically defaulted on home
Beatrice Cortinas, foreclosed homeowner
Diana Hayes, foreclosed homeowner
    comments powered by Disqus
    I wasn't able to mention this during my time on the show, but I would like to make the point that the experience of "walking away" did teach me several important lessons. The chief lesson is to live within my means. In the last three years, I have reduced my consumer debt to under $500, learned to put purchases off until I have ready cash and learned to pay cash for EVERYTHING or implement and follow through with a plan to pay each purchase off within a set amount of months (never more than three.) Had I not gone through the foreclosure, I wouldn't be sitting here with a little cash in the bank, a new car and a hopeful outlook for owning a home again very soon. So for me the "reset" was internal as well and I consider that another indication of the "luck" that seemed to follow me through this process.
    Krystal HosmerAug 29, 2011 20:47:27 PM
    Ms. Cortinas, please go viral-you-tube. Shame the bank that foreclosed on you. Make a video, put it out there. Contact Drudge Report. Shame all of our elected officials...
    blingAug 29, 2011 20:28:13 PM
    I'm sick of bailing out every irresponsible idiot in the country. I buy a house that I can afford and nearly have it paid off, yet people who bought irresponsibly are essentially getting free money in the form of subsidized principle and interest reductions?! How is it fair or moral that I pay for both their house and their lack of economic understanding? Let's let the real estate market clear itself; some will profit, and some will lose, but that's just life!
    John R.Aug 29, 2011 18:35:37 PM
    Hey John a moral decision is when a person decides to drive drunk and kill an innocent person, not walking away from an underwater property. I don't know about you but home prices in my neighborhood are at 1970 prices. Everybody, block out the haters and in your home as long as you can, because remember... the banks WTF, "Want The Foreclosure" ding, ding, ding. Foreclosure releases TARP money. Homeowners get nothing. Save your family, your health, your well-being, your is too short to fret...
    jennAug 29, 2011 20:23:41 PM
    Please, if KNPR hosts another discussion on the Las Vegas housing crisis, I request that it NOT be allowed to devolve in any part to a pity party. Please discuss how to get out and how to prevent this mess from happening again. I disagree with Tom Blanchards comment near the end of the show when he stated the banks should lower residential mortgage amounts (No the banks do not get to keep the windfall for a bail out they previously received). Here is why: Lowering an individuals mortgage in a house that he/she should have never purchased confirms the wrongful thinking that got the individual in the position in the first place. In other words  moral hazard  a person whose house is saved does not learn the overlying lesson of living within his/her means and not to the neighbors means. Also lowering mortgages of the big-spenders is one more punch in the arm or is a punishment to those who saved their money. Capitalism is now loudly screaming to those individuals who saved their money and who controlled any emotion toward staying up with the neighbors to take advantage of those situations resulting from those who unnecessarily compromised their financial stability.
    KirkAug 29, 2011 18:01:15 PM
    The building continues as the foreclosed homes are sold to out of state cash buyers. Are we not making entire territories of foreign neighborhoods? It should be mandatory to build every new house in this valley with solar panel roofing or sides. There is no reason we are wasting electricity when we live in a windy and sunny place.
    TabithaAug 29, 2011 10:09:12 AM
    I'm a Nevada Real Estate Agent and also a permitted Nevada property manager. As I work with clients looking to buy homes, we find that there are many stumbling blocks to buying foreclosures that bind up our market and make purchasing a home in Las Vegas much more difficult.
    Sean MarshallAug 29, 2011 09:53:48 AM
    no moral guage in a bank? what...are they vampires? should it be business as usual under such catastrophic circumstances? they have no obligations to the society they are part of? when we are down, they can just kick and take their money an run? you are being too easy on these vultures. all parts of society, including a bank, have the obligation to run their business as part of that society, which means caring for its healthy functioning. not to destroy it. that definition belongs to the concept of war and invasion. they are not supposed to be enemies. any good business should be nurturing the society they are milking as a part of their responsible interaction. no?
    John Aug 29, 2011 09:45:17 AM
    Am I missing something? Is it not that the banks are in a feeding frenzy? Do they not get paid from their AIG insurance for forclosing on a home? Aren't they making a bundle? And no one is stopping them. They claim "helplessness." They are happily destroying America and laughing all the way to the bank. Are they not? Aren't they causing this all, and not having the decency to stop, and have some kind of social concern?
    John SalacanAug 29, 2011 09:28:53 AM
    We applied for a loan modification in 2010, which we were eligible for, and we followed the instructions the bank told us. The bank then starts foreclosure proceedings as part of the process. We had to get a Senator to block the foreclosure. They denied the loan modification and started foreclosure proceedings again, even though we were eligible and made all payments on time. Then, we found a company called which we are now on our fourth month trial payment plan on our loan modification. Our neighborhood is completely made up of rentals that are owned by absentee owners. The only fault we made is that we applied for a loan modification, which we are eligible for, and we may lose our home because of it. All of our friends are also going through this.
    TabithaAug 29, 2011 09:28:35 AM
    I heard on NPR last week that much of the real estate activity in S. Florida is from foreign buyers. Would this be a good or bad thing? Do many "foreigners" purchase 2nd/vacation homes in Las Vegas? If not, why not, and is this something we want increased?
    Aunty PalinAug 29, 2011 07:19:04 AM
    Which British city is the nearest equivalent to Las Vegas? (Brighton?) How are they trying to resolve their problems and could any of it apply here?
    Aunty PalinAug 29, 2011 07:16:52 AM
    The example just given re someone having to scale down from 3 to 1 does not make the needed case for help addressing housing crises. Not compelling at all. I don't think people are entitled to 3 houses they can't afford.
    MargaretAug 26, 2011 09:33:25 AM
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