A plan by the city of Richmond to use eminent domain to seize from banks lower and middle-class homes underwater on their mortgages -- and then sell them back to the owners at the homes' current market value -- is targeting homes worth $1 million or more, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Richmond leaders are pushing a plan to buy 624 home loans from banks and other financial institutions as a way to combat blight -- but by targeting homes that are in the East Bay city's nicest neighborhoods, it "appears to undermine" that argument, according to the newspaper.
Researcher Marc Joffe found that nine homes in Point Richmond, the city's most expensive area, are on the list, as well as a total of 57 homes in two of the city's waterfront condo communities, the newspaper reported.
These are homes that would be resold quickly rather than stand vacant for long stretches of time and contribute to blight, Joffe told the newspaper.
A spokesman for Richmond said that the program -- which is still in the initial stages, with Richmond leaders attempting to negotiate with banks before it uses the tool of eminent domain to seize properties via the courts -- does not discriminate on neighborhoods and focused on loans that were severely underwater.
That said, it is possible that the priciest homes would not be included in the eminent domain maneuver, the newspaper reported.