Sunday, March 2, 2008

Vacant Homes in U.S. Climb to Most Since 1970s With Ghost Towns

This is really bad on several levels, besides the stark economic one. These empty houses are going to attract squatters, drug users, vandalism, etc. These neighborhoods with just a few residents are going to be like cancerous growths on the immediate areas. And you can only imagine that eventually there will be people showing up to rip out windows and interior finishings, etc.

Feb. 29 (Bloomberg) -- When Quinn Cuthbertson looks around his new neighborhood in El Dorado Hills, California, he sees rows of empty homes and barren hillsides. A promised new school and a clubhouse haven't materialized.

Cuthbertson paid $460,000 for a four-bedroom house in this northern California town named for the mythical golden city. He now suspects his neighbor spent $45,000 less. Nearby, 87 of 98 Toll Brothers Inc. home sites are undeveloped.

Almost 200,000 newly constructed single-family homes are sitting empty in the U.S., the most since Commerce Department statistics began in 1973. Partially completed developments reduce revenue for cities and towns and hurt businesses, said Nicolas Retsinas, the director of Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. Rising foreclosures and falling property values may cut tax revenue by more than $6.6 billion for 10 states, including New York, California and Florida, the U.S. Conference of Mayors said in a November report.