President Set To Tackle Housing In Phoenix

02.18.09 | FL News Team

President Obama will have the national mortgage crisis on his mind when he speaks in the Phoenix, Arizona today. Fresh from Tuesday's signing of the economic stimulus bill in Denver, the president will appear at Dobson High School in Mesa to unveil an expected 50-billion-dollar plan aimed at helping homeowners stay in their homes.

The cash would reportedly come from the remaining bank rescue fund but no other details have been announced, although Mr. Obama has indicated he wants to make mortgages more affordable by giving lenders an incentive to restructure loans.

Mesa Mayor Scott Smith says the median price for a home in the city of 450-thousand has plunged from 208-thousand-dollars a year ago to under 138-thousand today.  The mayor says the solution to the problem will be more jobs.

Phoenix is a prime area for delivering the message. A housing boom that saw the local population grow by more than 50-percent in the past two decades has gone bust with home prices sinking 40-percent in the past year according to numbers from Arizona State University.

"USA Today" cites Census Bureau figures that show one in nine housing units are vacant across America today. The Mortgage Bankers Association reports more than two-million homeowners were faced with foreclosure proceedings last year.

California has been especially hard hit reporting nearly 77-thousand foreclosures in January alone. Florida is next with nearly 41-thousand and Arizona comes in third, barely ahead of Nevada, both with more than 14-thousand foreclosed homes just in the first month of the year.