America Underwater is a project by Rebuild the Dream and the New Bottom Line.
(Captions written by the families depicted in the photos)
Today 11 million Americans own homes that are "underwater," or worth less than their mortgages. Strangled by the same big banks who caused the housing crisis, many homeowners now find their banks unwilling to negotiate—even when they can pay.
Few families will ever be able to pay off their inflated mortgages. Many will default. As long as this $700 billion in underwater mortgages remains on bank books, foreclosures will increase, the housing market will struggle, and our entire economy will stall.
But there's a solution: through principal reduction—rewriting underwater mortgages to reflect their fair market value—experts agree we could jumpstart the housing market and the economy.
Big banks must write down at least $300 billion in underwater
homes. That's not enough to bail out vacation homes and investment
properties. It's enough to put money back in the pockets of struggling
middle and low-income families. And it's enough to right the market. —Rebuild the Dream/The New Bottom Line