Negotiators for Congress and the Bush administration reportedly agreed late yesterday (Sept. 22, 2008) to provide new help for homeowners facing the prospect of foreclosure on their mortgages. The assistance would be included in a $700 billion plan to rescue the nation’s troubled economy. It comes far too late, however, for at least three property owners in Lower Pottsgrove (PA) Township.
Unless circumstances change, their homes will be lost in Montgomery County Sheriff‘s sales to be held later this week in Norristown.
Although Democrats in Congress acknowledged that emergency aid for the financial system should be approved quickly, they also demanded the measure proposed last Friday by President Bush include help for ordinary Americans threatened with loss of their homes. Agreement on “the foreclosure piece,” the Los Angeles Times reported, effectively expands the president’s plan beyond its earlier focus on helping major financial institutions recover from a meltdown now roiling global markets.
Other components of the plan are still being discussed. Final passage by the House and Senate, and a bill signing by Bush, may come in Washington “within a couple of days,” CBS News reported this morning.
Whether it generates joy at the Montgomery County courthouse remains to be seen.
Three of 23 Pottstown area homes ordered to sheriff’s sale tomorrow (Sept. 24, 2008) are located in Lower Pottsgrove. One home, a unit on Maple Glen Circle, Sanatoga, carries debt of more than $180,000. The second, on Pruss Hill Road, carries debt of more than $248,000. The third, on North Charlotte Street near Ringing Rocks, carries debt of more than $273,000. Combined they represent almost three-quarters of a million dollars in value to be forfeited by their owners.
They are not alone. Several other Lower Pottsgrove homes went to sheriff’s sale earlier this year. Three more sales are scheduled in Norristown for Oct. 29, Nov. 19 and Dec. 17. So far, they include another five Lower Pottsgrove homes destined for the auction block.
Foreclosures, and vacant and abandoned homes, take a toll on other township property owners too. Lower Pottsgrove’s Board of Commissioners earlier this month heard from residents who complained that lawns at vacant homes for sale on Mervine Street and Sunnyside Road had gone unmowed for weeks. Township Manager Rodney Hawthorne said the problems would be investigated.
The rate of foreclosures across Pennsylvania last month, as measured by California-based RealtyTrac, was lower than that of neighboring states and the nation. Just one foreclosure filing was made per 1,108 Pennsylvania households during August 2008, its press release indicates, compared to one filing in 536 New Jersey households and one filing in 416 U.S. households.