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50-Plus Voters and the Housing Market

Nevada residents feel the impact of sinking home values and ponder campaign promises

Jim and Amy Watt, both in their 60s, are trying to hang on to their Henderson home. "When we moved out here, I thought, 'This is our last home. We're going to die here,' " said Jim Watt. But the housing crisis has put that assumption in question. Worse, he said, so many homes in their neighborhood had fallen to foreclosure that everyone's property values dropped further. "I ain't moving, no," Amy said, grasping paperwork she hopes will help them fight foreclosure.

But like Amador and others at the seminar, they wonder how their bright vision for the future dimmed so quickly — and what their next president can do about it.

Two of every three Nevada homeowners owe more than their homes are worth, nearly three times the national average.

Michael Mooneyham, 59, is one of them. A resident of Henderson's Sun City Anthem community, he doesn't believe that helping banks is the answer. They were bailed out in 2008, Mooneyham said. His answer today: "Do a onetime bailout [for] the people of the United States."

His is a common attitude here, particularly among those who feel they have been misled by financial institutions. Other Nevadans place the blame on buyers. "Some people bought beyond their means," said Joe Madrid, 77, a Republican and a retired electrical engineer living in Henderson.

Regardless, said Barbara Buckley, executive director of the legal aid center that led the seminar, "we're ground zero in the foreclosure crisis." And Nevadans are still waiting for help as November draws closer.

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