Cardin Welcomes HUD Secretary Castro to Prince George’s County for Discussion on Foreclosures, Housingbencardin

Despite progress, Maryland continues to rank second nationwide in number of foreclosures, with Prince George’s County making up 22.3 percent of all statewide

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker convened a roundtable of housing counselors Monday to discuss the current challenges facing local homeowners. HUD and Prince George’s County have a number of programs designed specifically to help struggling homeowners and to educate potential homeowners before they commit to what may be the largest purchase in their lifetime.

“The State of Maryland and Prince George’s County have been working hard with federal partners, including HUD, to help local residents navigate through the hardest of economic times. Prince George’s County was Ground Zero for Maryland during the peak of the housing crisis. While the housing market is improving in some parts of the country, it is clear that Prince George’s County still greatly needs our support—both locally and federally. Too many Maryland families still find themselves in financial jeopardy,” said Senator Cardin. “I thank Secretary Castro for visiting Prince George’s County so early in his tenure at HUD. It has been invaluable for us to hear firsthand from the very counselors on the front lines providing the support and resources to help preserve the dream of home ownership. I will continue to ensure that our community receives appropriate funding from the Federal Government and resources from HUD. Clear from our discussion also is the need to engage more banks in the process of keeping families in their homes. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, I also understand the great importance of ensuring that our tax code provides mortgage forgiveness relief to homeowners, so we do not unfairly penalize families who are already struggling economically.”

“We can all agree that when the circumstances are right, homeownership enhances communities and help folks strengthen their financial futures. We’re working to preserve the dream of homeownership for all of those who’ve already bought a home, but are struggling a bit,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro.

“I want to thank Senator Cardin and Secretary Castro for facilitating this important discussion about the housing and foreclosures challenges facing Prince George’s County,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III. “The County’s foreclosure crisis was a major jolt to our economy, but this administration has worked diligently to turn things around. We have successfully attracted several large economic development projects, significantly reduced crime and worked to improve our school system. These efforts along with implementing homeownership programs are contributing to the rise in residential housing values around the County. However, there are still a number of families who are struggling from the loss of jobs and opportunities due to the Great Recession. With a quickly improving economy, the engagement and help of our federal partners – specifically from our County’s Congressional Delegation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – we are overcoming these challenges and helping our impacted residents get back on their feet. It is important to them and the County.”

“High foreclosure rates are a major drag on our economy and create a significant burden for hardworking Marylanders,” U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski said. “Families in Prince George’s County and across Maryland need a government on their side. That’s why I’ve continued to fight to protect homebuyers, especially those in poor and underserved communities, who often fall prey to intentionally confusing mortgages that appear affordable at first, only to become a crushing hardship later. It’s time to foreclose on the bad guys and stop the foreclosures on homes.”

According to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development: Maryland’s foreclosure rate increased from 47.7 foreclosures per 10,000 households in the second quarter to 48.9 in the third quarter of 2014, although its ranking remained unchanged as the second highest nationwide behind Florida. Also according to RealtyTrac data, the State’s foreclosure rate was 103.0 percent above the U.S. rate of 24.1 in the third quarter of 2014.

Prince George’s County, with 2,684 foreclosures, had the largest share of foreclosures statewide, accounting for 23.1 percent of the total. Foreclosure activity in Prince George’s County increased 17.8 percent above the previous quarter and by 32.9 percent over last year. Foreclosure sales increased by 24.4 percent in Prince George’s County, to 1,101 notices, and were up 8.0 percent above last year.

Foreclosure sales in the county accounted for 22.3 percent of all foreclosure sales statewide, the largest share among the State’s twenty-four jurisdictions.