[Source: Catherine Reagor, Arizona Republic] — Metropolitan Phoenix’s ailing housing market is getting a boost from the federal government. Early next year, Arizona will receive $121 million to combat the state’s growing foreclosure problem. Most of the money must be spent to buy and fix up foreclosure homes and then help people purchase them. Homes in the Valley communities hardest hit by the downturn will be targeted. Those areas include neighborhoods in Phoenix, Mesa, Avondale, Tolleson, and Surprise. The money, distributed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Affairs, comes from the nation’s Housing and Economic Recovery Act, which Congress passed in July.
The funds are earmarked for “stabilizing” the neighborhoods hurt by too many foreclosures. The federal money will go toward the purchase of thousands of Valley foreclosure homes, which means more work for real-estate agents, appraisers, title agents and lenders. Many people who have struggled to get financing or down-payment money to buy a house will get help. The funds also will mean more jobs for contractors hired to fix up foreclosure homes. Homeowners in neighborhoods hurt by too many foreclosures should see their home values stabilize and even increase as the money is spent on houses nearby.
A record 35,000 homes have been foreclosed on Valley-wide so far this year. Many neighborhoods, particularly on the Valley’s fringes, are dotted with homes left vacant and vandalized because of foreclosures. “This money will a go a long ways to helping a lot of people and communities,” said Fred Karnas, director of the Arizona Housing Department, which will get more than $38 million of the federal money. Only Phoenix, which has been allotted $39 million, will get more of Arizona’s share. Several other communities will receive money, as well. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]