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Real Estate: The Creator Of Ghost Towns

Mar 5, 2008
Occasionally on weekends my partners and I like to drive to new home development areas to look for prospective investment properties. It is really nice on weekends to take a drive and see the start of new cities and towns. It always interesting to me to remember how a place looked ten years prior before its development. The feelings coming over me now in our current areas is just horrible. Many of these new housing development areas look so depressed and neglected.

Our drives have been taking us farther and farther into the Stockton area. Stockton has become the foreclosure capital of the United States. Every time you would turn your head in another direction you would see a realtor sign or the public notices on the front doors. A majority of the homes were not anymore than five years old in that particular area. The majority of those homes just looked horrible. All of the lawns were over grown and even some were all boarded up. It is just so sad to see a neighborhood in just a couple of years look so horrible. A couple of nearby housing developments did not look too bad since that area has a housing association. The associations in many areas are at least keeping the lawns maintained and keep the area presentable for the home owners still residing there. After driving around for a while we decided to drive to a developing area called Lathrop.

I thought Stockton looked horrible from the housing crisis, but I was wrong. Lathrop took it by a land slide. It seemed like every other house was for sale or posted. Many of the homes were still brand new and have not been sold yet. I saw a tumble weed as large as a small compact car rolling down the street. Right then I starting thinking of those old west ghost towns portrayed in the movies. It wasn't that bad yet there still were a few people living around that area. I wonder how long they will be able to survive. Most of the people still living there are upside down at least $150,000 on their homes. If they were lucky enough to have got a fixed rate mortgage they can ride it out, but still the psychological burden will be eating them up inside until the market turns around.

I really do not know how so many people are predicting that this crisis is going to turn around by the end of the year. The real estate market is just so saturated with inventory it looks like it will take a couple of years to get rid of it all. If the real estate market was the only problem it could have been possible, but everyone is being affected in some way or another. The stock market slowly is steadily declining and our economy is slowing down. Every day the news is announcing large corporations letting go employees to cut costs. Just the other day the city of Vallejo, California declared bankruptcy. When Cities are going bankrupt we are having problems and they are not going away quickly. Our biggest single problem is the moral of our fellow citizens. All our feelings and moods control a big part of the flow of our economy. The truth is that similar things have happened before. History always repeats it's self. We made it through it once and we will make it through it again.
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