Real estate

Richmond, CA, Plans To Seize Underwater Mortgages

Bold move to put the city itself underwater

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Richmond, California's leaders approved on Wednesday morning a plan for the city to become the first in the nation to acquire mortgages with negative equity in a bid to keep local residents in their homes.

The power of 'eminent domain' allows governments to seize private property for a public purpose. Critics say the plan threatens the market for private-label mortgage-backed securities.

Richmond's city council voted 4 to 3 for Mayor Gayle McLaughlin's proposal for city staff to work more closely with Mortgage Resolution Partners to put the plan crafted by the investor group for the city to work.