Land Banks Help Solve Foreclosure Crisis

09.06.13 | Bob Price

As the foreclosure crisis swells the ranks of abandoned properties across the U.S., local governments are adopting a new strategy to acquire and return to the tax rolls tens of thousands of empty houses and vacant lots. In the past year, cities like Syracuse, N.Y., and communities all across Pennsylvania have set up "land banks"—these are independent authorities focused on turning around derelict properties. The “land banks” acquire homes through foreclosure then speed up their re-use by eliminating the red tape often associated with re-sale.   The idea is to beef up the tax rolls of local communities. During the foreclosure crisis, officials “had” been keen on keeping people in their homes, but now they’re shifting to dealing with vacant properties.  According to RealtyTrac, 20% of the 845-thousand U.S. homes in foreclosure are vacant.