Despite claims that the recent rise in housing prices is solving the nation's foreclosure and economic crisis, millions of families continue to face financial problems from which they may never recover, according to research from the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California, Berkeley. In a new report titled Underwater America, the group found that in 57 cities, at least 30 percent of all mortgaged homes are underwater, with nearly 1 in 10 Americans, or 28 million, living in the 100 hardest-hit cities.
Despite home prices rising in many parts of the country, the total value of owner-occupied housing still remains $3.2 trillion below 2006 levels. The Institute's report found that the legacy of predatory lending has resulted in a disproportionately negative impact on African American and Latino Communities. The group reported that from 2005 to 2009, African Americans and Latinos experienced a decline in household wealth of 52 percent and 66 percent respectively, compared to 16 percent for whites.
President Obama nominated San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro as the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The current HUD Secretary, Shaun Donovan, will serve as the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. The White House noted Castro's record as a leader in housing and economic development programs, specifically citing his relationships with other mayors and key partners in the Obama Administration's Promise Zones initiative.