Much has been made about the housing market implosion and foreclosure crisis, the worst correction in the housing market in generations.

Recent studies have sought to highlight how this national scourge has played out on a local level. While it should be noted that some -- especially major mortgage-lending banks -- dispute the methodology used in the reports, the wealth destruction wrought on Richmond by home value losses and adjustable rate mortgages is staggering.

A city of about 105,000 people and large African-American and Latino communities, Richmond's aging housing stock fell further in value and has been slower to regain value since the housing decline began in 2008. Foreclosures have pockmarked many working-class communities and played a role in increased "squatting" by transients and property crimes such as burglary, law enforcement officials say.

The city's Code Enforcement Department has expanded its scope and even had to demolish some dilapidated properties whose owners abandoned underwater mortgages.

Today, half of all homeowners in the city are paying off loans that are worth more than their house and equity.

Some highlights from recent reports of Richmond in 2012:

  • 914 foreclosures

  • $1.4 million decline in property tax revenues to the city, including $7.9 million cost to local government from 2012 foreclosures

  • 4,649 underwater homeowners, 49 percent of all mortgages in the city

  • 230 homes currently in the foreclosure pipeline

  • $712 million negative equity in underwater homes

  • Foreclosure rate in Richmond: 30 per 1,000 homes (U.S. average: 13 per 1,000)

  • "If banks reset these 4,600 mortgages to fair market value with current principals and interest rates, it would save underwater Richmond homeowners an average of $1,180 per month on their mortgage payments, or $14,157 annually. This would pump $66 million into the local economy every year." -- Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment Housing report

    Sources: Alliance for a Just Society report, May 2013; Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment Housing report, 2013