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Senator Brown Introduces Plan To Address 'Underwater' Mortgages

Nearly 1 in 4 Ohio mortgages are underwater, according to numbers from real estate data company Zillow Inc. US Senator Sherrod Brown says that’s why he’s introducing legislation to speed up what’s known as short sales.

When a property is  underwater it means a homeowner owes more on it than it’s actually worth.  In Montgomery County, 36% of mortgages are underwater. At a news conference Wednesday, Senator Brown unveiled his plan to speed up what’s called short sales. Those are transactions that must be approved by a bank because the mortgage is higher than the property value and its often used to avoid foreclosure. It’s a process that can be slow, sometimes months to complete. Brown says his plan will require banks to provide a response within 30 days

"I met with a group of Ohio community bankers a few days ago who said they could make a decision on a short sale. What a million dollar community bank in Ohio could do in 30 minutes we’re asking multi billion dollar banks to do in 30 days," said Brown.

Brown says speeding up short sales will stabilize the housing market and help the overall economy. He notes that it has bipartisan support. The plan is cosponsored by Lisa Murkowski, a Republican Senator from Alaska.