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Thursday
Feb102011

Ratigan On The Roots Of The Foreclosure Crisis: "It Was Wild West On Wall Street"

Video - Dylan Ratigan - Jan. 31, 2011

How It All Began

On fire as usual, Ratigan speaks with the mayor of Victorville, California, a real estate wasteland where new homes were razed without ever having occupants. Another data point from housing bubble ground zero.

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Housing crunch becomes literal in Victorville

A bank cuts its losses on a failed 16-unit project by having the homes demolished.

Curtis Forrester moved into a brand-new house in Victorville last week, but there was little time to enjoy the Jacuzzi and designer kitchen. He was there only to see it destroyed.

Just a few days after his arrival, the two-story residence and three other luxurious model homes were crushed and hauled off for scrap, the latest fallout from Southern California's real estate crash.

The homes were part of a planned 16-unit project in this community 100 miles north of Los Angeles. The Texas bank that owns the failed development decided to demolish the houses, a cheaper alternative to completing and selling them.

Forrester was hired to keep thieves away and help sell off the fixtures. "All my life I've been building things," said the 59-year-old construction worker. "It's kind of fun tearing them down."

The Victorville demolition is one of the most dramatic ends to a bad bet made during the housing boom, but abandoned developments have become an all-too-common sight in California. Nearly 250 residential developments totaling 9,389 homes have been halted across the state, according to one research firm.

The developer of the Victorville project had hoped to sell the houses for more than $300,000 as they were being built last year, Forrester said. But reality quickly diverged from that vision. Home prices have tanked faster in San Bernardino County than any other Southern California county during the downturn. In March, the median home sale price for the county was $160,000, down 43% in a year, according to the San Diego-based research firm MDA DataQuick.

Officials of Guaranty Bank of Austin, Texas, which took over the development last year, were unavailable for comment. But Victorville city spokeswoman Yvonne Hester said the bank decided not to throw good money after bad.

"It just didn't pencil out for them," she said. "They'd have to spend a lot of money to turn around and sell the houses. They just made a financial decision to just demolish them."

http://articles.latimes.com/2009/may/05/business/fi-demolish5

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Vegas wins again...

Check out the 30 best and worst counties nationwide for underwater mortgages...

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (2)

Housing crunch becomes literal in Victorville

A bank cuts its losses on a failed 16-unit project by having the homes demolished.

Curtis Forrester moved into a brand-new house in Victorville last week, but there was little time to enjoy the Jacuzzi and designer kitchen. He was there only to see it destroyed.

Just a few days after his arrival, the two-story residence and three other luxurious model homes were crushed and hauled off for scrap, the latest fallout from Southern California's real estate crash.

The homes were part of a planned 16-unit project in this community 100 miles north of Los Angeles. The Texas bank that owns the failed development decided to demolish the houses, a cheaper alternative to completing and selling them.

Forrester was hired to keep thieves away and help sell off the fixtures. "All my life I've been building things," said the 59-year-old construction worker. "It's kind of fun tearing them down."

The Victorville demolition is one of the most dramatic ends to a bad bet made during the housing boom, but abandoned developments have become an all-too-common sight in California. Nearly 250 residential developments totaling 9,389 homes have been halted across the state, according to one research firm.

The developer of the Victorville project had hoped to sell the houses for more than $300,000 as they were being built last year, Forrester said. But reality quickly diverged from that vision. Home prices have tanked faster in San Bernardino County than any other Southern California county during the downturn. In March, the median home sale price for the county was $160,000, down 43% in a year, according to the San Diego-based research firm MDA DataQuick.

Officials of Guaranty Bank of Austin, Texas, which took over the development last year, were unavailable for comment. But Victorville city spokeswoman Yvonne Hester said the bank decided not to throw good money after bad.

"It just didn't pencil out for them," she said. "They'd have to spend a lot of money to turn around and sell the houses. They just made a financial decision to just demolish them."

http://articles.latimes.com/2009/may/05/business/fi-demolish5
Feb 10, 2011 at 6:25 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Feb 11, 2011 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohn

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