Public Comment

Berkeley Foreclosures

By Barbara Gilbert
Thursday October 30, 2008 - 09:59:00 AM

At the Oct. 21 council meeting, misleading information on Berkeley property values and foreclosures was publicly stated by City Manager Kamlarz, Councilmember Capitelli, and Economic Development Director Caplan. The City should investigate, correct, and update this information. 

First, it was stated that property values in Berkeley are down only 6.7 percent. However, an official Council report of Sept. 23, 2008, item 17A, attachment 3, states that for the year ending June 30, 2008, the median sale priced single-family home was down 6.7 percent, but that the median sale-priced condo was down 15 percent. Duh, this adds up to more than a 6.7 percent drop. Further, it is now October 21, well into the beginning of what may well be the Second Great Depression. I’m sure that in the last four months, prices have dropped substantially below those of June 30. It should not be all that hard for our officials to have up-to-date numbers. 

Second, it was stated that the number of foreclosures is between 100-108. I very recently looked into this matter with a realtor friend, and below is the information she provided: 

A client of mine looked it up on Realtytrac (not sure of spelling) and gave me this information as of Oct. 15: 

• 132 in pre-foreclosure 

• 132 bank-owned 

• 30 for auction 

City officials should well know that actual foreclosures are only part of the “foreclosure” problem. There are delinquencies, foreclosures, and auctions. There are also problems that don’t always show up in the numbers—short sales, distress sales at low prices, homeowners struggling with mortgage payments and tax bills, etc. Things are going to get much worse for our homeowners, residents and for local government, and we need to face up to this and plan accordingly. 14 percent salary increases for City employees just doesn’t seem right or fair at this time! Nor do new tax/bond measures imposed on our hard-pressed citizenry. On these I will be voting no and I am urging others to vote no. 



Barbara Gilbert is a Berkeley resident.