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DEFENSE COMMUNITIES 360

Military Families Stymied by ‘Under Water’ Mortgages

  • January 5, 2012
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Many military homeowners facing orders to new assignments are being forced to leave their families behind when they find they can’t sell their houses because they owe more than their homes are worth.

The problem of “under water” mortgages is significant, Holly Petraeus, director of the Office of Servicemember Affairs in the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, concluded after visiting 15 defense communities over the past year.

Members of the military are particularly vulnerable as numerous installations are in the states most affected by the crash in housing prices, including California, Florida and Nevada, reported Stars and Stripes.

What options do service members have if they are under water?

“There are no easy answers. They can’t sell their house for enough money to pay off their mortgage. They have had trouble getting access to some assistance programs,” Petraeus said. And unless they are delinquent in paying their mortgages, they won’t qualify for a short sale or a loan modification, she added.

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