Here’s a novel idea to fight the foreclosure threat: Allowing cities and towns to use their eminent-domain powers to take over underwater homes and then effectively reissue mortgages for lower amounts, reflecting the true and lower value of homes.

One of the main problems facing the housing industry is that a lot homes are now underwater, or valued less than the original mortgages taken out on them, and yet those individual mortgages are stuck in huge securities packages that makes them hard to get at. It’s almost impossible to individually modify these loans.

But if a government could take over a specific property, and its mortgage, via eminent domain, and then find new investors to issue a more favorable mortgage to people, then, voila! End of problem. Or so the theory goes.

One problem: Do you really want the government using such powers? It would be a very unorthodox use of eminent-domain powers. What’s to stop local municipalities from using that same power for other home-ownership programs? The possibilities of mischief and favoritism seem almost endless.

Still, it’s a fascinating, if somewhat discomforting, idea.

An update: Scott notes that there’s still a huge gap between what sellers and buyers think is the true value of a home.

Author Profile

John Ford
John Ford

Over the course of 20 years in the Boston downtown real estate market, John represented and sold numerous, condominiums, investment and development properties in Greater Boston and in the surrounding suburbs

In addition to representing Boston condo buyers and sellers, John is currently one of the most recognized Boston condo blog writers regarding Boston condominiums and residential real estate markets. John's insights and observations about the Boston condo market have been seen in a wide variety of the most established local & national media outlets including; Banker and Tradesman, Boston Magazine The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald and NewsWeek and Fortune magazine, among others.


For over 24 years, John Ford, of Ford Realty Inc., has been actively involved in the real estate industry. He started his career in commercial real estate with a national firm Spaulding & Slye and quickly realized that he had a passion for residential properties. In 1999, John entered the residential real estate market, and in 2000 John Started his own firm Ford Realty Inc. As a broker, his clients have come to love his fun, vivacious, and friendly attitude. He prides himself on bringing honesty and integrity to the entire home buying and selling process. In addition to helping buyers and sellers, he also works with rental clients. Whether you’re looking to purchase a new Boston condo or rent an apartment, you’ll quickly learn why John has a 97% closing rate.


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John Ford and his staff can be reached at 617-595-3712 or 617-720-5454. Please feel free to stop by John's Boston Beacon Hill office located at 137 Charles Street.

John Ford
Ford Realty Inc
137 Charles Street
Boston, Ma 02114



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