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Investors Buying Up Many Foreclosed Oakland Homes

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A foreclosure sign hangs on a fence in front of a foreclosed home on April 6, 2011. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A foreclosure sign hangs on a fence in front of a foreclosed home on April 6, 2011. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

OAKLAND (CBS SF) – An advocacy group for low-income people issued a report Thursday that finds investors are buying foreclosed homes in the poorest neighborhoods in Oakland in a trend that is destabilizing communities.

The report by the Oakland-based Urban Strategies Council entitled “Who Owns Your Neighborhood?” said that 62 percent of the 10,508 completed foreclosures in Oakland since 2007 are either still owned by a financial institution or acquired by an investor.

It said that as of October 2011, investors had acquired 42 percent of all properties that went through foreclosure in the city.

In addition, the report said only 10 of the top 30 foreclosure investors in Oakland are based in the city and 93 percent of all investor acquisitions are concentrated in low-income neighborhoods in the city’s flatlands.

Joining the report’s authors at a news conference at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse, Oakland City Councilwoman Desley Brooks, who represents part of East Oakland, said investors are paying cash for foreclosed properties, making it difficult for potential homebuyers who can only afford to make a modest down payment.

“These all-cash transactions are squeezing out the little guy,” Brooks said. “These investors are devaluing our community by buying low and selling high.”

“If we allow this to continue to happen it will be a tremendous disservice to our community,” she said.

The City Council’s Community and Economic Development Agency will hold a hearing on July 10 on Brooks’ proposed ordinance that would target firms that leave properties blighted.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

The ordinance would require home-buyers not living in their newly-purchased homes to bring them up to city codes or face fines, Brooks said.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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