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Sanders, Trump appeal to Nevada voters with fresh memories of US housing crisis

February 21, 2016

By Chris McGreal : theguardian – excerpt

As Nevada voters prepare to caucus, their experience living through the worst of the national foreclosure crisis will play a large part in who they choose

Mark is going to vote for Donald Trump. But he says he could live with Bernie Sanders as president.

“I really think Trump has the knowledge. There’s a lot of support for Trump among the people I know. But I like Sanders, too. If we have to have a Democrat, I really hope it’s him and not Hillary,” he said.

Mark – who will not give his surname but is happy to have his photo taken – is not as confused as he may sound.

As he and his fellow Nevada voters caucus for the Democrats on Saturday and the Republicans on Tuesday, their experiences living through the worst of the US housing collapse will play a large part in their decision making.

At the height of the crisis, 1 in 16 homes in Nevada faced foreclosure, compared to 1 in 69 nationwide. Nearly 60% of houses were worth less than the mortgages taken out on them. The median price of a home dropped by nearly two-thirds to $115,000.

With that came the collapse of a building industry that had been churning out so many new homes it created a shortage of cranes for construction in other parts of the US. The unemployment rate more than tripled to 14%.

Mark lives on Brown Street in Las Vegas, where prices fell by close to 90% at the peak of the crisis. The house next door was foreclosed on years ago. Several others nearby were seized by the banks. The one opposite was found in a survey by the Las Vegas Review-Journal to have sold for $249,000 at the peak of the market, only to tumble in value to little more than $26,000. Mark’s own property is still under water…

Many still cautious after foreclosure crisis…

The foreclosure crisis was a searing experience for those who lived at the sharp end of it, and it is not yet in the past – 1 in 4 homes is still worth less than the outstanding debt on them….(more)

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