Washington, D.C. - Metropolitan Washington now has one of the fastest growing foreclosure rates in the country, with families losing homes six times more frequently during the first quarter of 2008 than in 2007, according to a study done by the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University.
The study, which was commissioned by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) and Freddie Mac, shows that over a one-year period concluding at the end of February 2008, 15,613 homes went into foreclosure in the metropolitan area. By 2008, home prices had fallen 11 percent compared with April 2007.
The researchers found that although Prince William County in Virginia and Prince George’s County in Maryland have been hit hardest by the crisis, several other neighborhoods across the region are considered impending or potential foreclosure “hot spots.” The neighborhoods of Herndon, Centreville and the Route 1 corridor in Fairfax County are impending foreclosure “hot spots,” according to the study, as well as the Germantown area in Montgomery County.
The study’s results were examined today by more than 200 regional leaders representing public officials, the housing industry and nonprofit organizations during a summit hosted by COG and Freddie Mac. The participants came together to assess the region’s continuing vulnerability to foreclosures and how they can work together to strengthen the region’s safety net for those affected.
“Our purpose is to better understand how foreclosures are impacting our region and learn what we can do to help preserve the stability of our neighborhoods and our families,” said COG Board Chairman Michael Knapp. “We expect to share and put in place regional strategies that can address any gaps in the safety net to protect families and our strong local economy.”
To help address gaps in the safety net for families in the National Capital Region, Freddie Mac said it will provide an initial contribution of $175,000 to what it hopes will become a larger pool of funds from the private sector and foundations to support nonprofit groups addressing the foreclosure crisis. “Foreclosure puts everybody at risk – families, banks and neighborhoods, explained Ralph Boyd, Freddie Mac’s executive vice president. “We’re working nationwide to help families understand their options. Here in the Washington region, where we live and do significant community investing, we wanted to do even more. That’s why we are starting a fund with COG to help local nonprofits. Our region’s health is critical to all of us.”
The priorities for the fund will be shaped by today’s summit on the foreclosure crisis. COG will administer the fund, which will make grants to several nonprofits. In addition to the contribution by the corporation, the Freddie Mac Foundation also announced a $100,000 grant that will be disbursed to assist vulnerable children and families hardest hit by foreclosure.
In conjunction with today’s conference, the Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington will release a report entitled “You Have 10 Days to Move Out” that highlights the work of two-dozen nonprofits serving families impacted by foreclosures. The nonprofit groups profiled include those providing money for shelter, food and utilities on an emergency basis and homebuyer counseling programs.
Click here for a copy of the report, Foreclosures in the Washington DC Region.