Sunday, May 25, 2008

"Even the Models Had Dead Lawns"

From Home Front:
Mostly, it was acres and acres of dead subdivisions that just jumped out at a driver touring this part of the state. In so many places the streets and sidewalks are in, the utility wires are sticking out of the ground, the street signs are up - and it's nothing but weeds almost as far as you can see.
In Edgewater: A street of 20 houses built by Roseville's JMC Homes with only one house occupied. In Plumas Lake: a Ryland Homes subdivision called Thoroughbred Acres. Five lovely models and nothing else. Behind it a pile of Ryland flags and poles. I walked up to read the writing on the flags and a jackrabbit ran off. Down Arboga Road, another subdivision by Lakemont Homes. Even the models had dead lawns.

I don't mean to pick on Plumas Lake. But some of it looked like a poster child for the consequences of risky lending. In many neighborhoods there is an overpowering feeling of abandonment and at the very least, neglect. I cannot remember anywhere - not in Lincoln nor Merced - seeing so many unkempt and unmowed lawns.
From the Sacramento Bee (hat tip Jeff):
Sacramento's $58 million shortfall for next fiscal year is only the start of the city's budget woes: The gap between what the city takes in and pays out is forecast to become even wider over the next five years, requiring cumulative cuts of about $200 million, according to city officials.
Like the state and other cities across the nation, Sacramento is struggling with the subprime mortgage meltdown and a worsening economy. Russ Fehr, recently named city treasurer, said the budget crisis is caused by low revenue and escalating costs, much of that attributable to negotiated labor contracts. Sales tax revenue is below estimates. He said the downturn of the housing market and rising unemployment are likely to mean a significant slowdown in property and utility users tax revenue.
More deficits and more cuts are coming over the next five years, City Manager Ray Kerridge warned in the city's budget overview. "The reductions will be deeper and more difficult since many of the nonessential services are already proposed to be eliminated in 2008-09."
From the Sacramento Business Journal:
Sales of existing homes in the Sacramento area increased 68.5 percent year-over-year in April....The median sales price here was $235,000, about a 35 percent drop from April 2007, CAR reported.
From the Daily Breeze:
Rep. Laura Richardson, who lost her Sacramento home in a recent foreclosure auction, has also defaulted on properties in Long Beach and San Pedro, records show. Richardson, D-Long Beach, was able to bring her payments up to date on the Long Beach home relatively quickly, but the San Pedro property lingered in the foreclosure process for almost eight months, and still has a pending auction date.

In her first interview since the news broke Tuesday that her Sacramento home had been foreclosed, Richardson blamed the foreclosure on a miscommunication by her lender. She offered no apologies for failing to make payments on three separate homes and expressed no regret for failing to pay nearly $9,000 in property taxes.
As a member of Congress, Richardson makes $169,300 a year. As a member of the Assembly, she made about $116,000, plus a per diem for living expenses in Sacramento.
From the Associated Press:
She said she is like any other American suffering in the mortgage crisis and wants to testify to Congress about her experience as lawmakers craft a foreclosure-prevention bill.
Rather than shy away from voting on mortgage-related bills, Richardson said her experiences could help her craft legislation to make sure others don't experience what she did. For example, she sees a need to add steps to inform property owners before their property can be sold. "We have to ensure that lenders and lendees have the tools with proper timing to resolve this," she said.
More on the House flipper in trouble at Calculated Risk.


James said...

Why was Laura trying to maintain 3 households? Even with per diem she could not afford mortgages on the Long Beach House and Curtis Park. Was the San Pedro house a rental, or just another empty "investment?"

Before moving in March, we lived one street up from the Curtis Park house and never saw any indication she was trying to rent or sell the house. She had been putting a zillow make me move ad for $600,000, but that is about it.
My wife is a lobbyist and has had a bit of interaction with Richardson while in the assembly. She would always comment on what an awful person she was to work with. I guess it shows in the way she runs her personal life as well. Feels she did nothing wrong. That is what really hurts.

Tyrone said...

It's amazing that the monkeys still think real estate in Sacramento is going to turn around soon.

Max said...

Here's one for you:

Food banks face high costs but feeding more people

STOCKTON, Calif. - Jackie Hoffman sifted through a laundry bin filled with aging bread, choosing a loaf of white.

Like nearly a third of the first 50 customers to arrive at the Emergency Food Bank of Stockton that morning, Hoffman was new to the pantry. But since she lost her sales job at a local newspaper in December, she has not found work in Stockton, which has the highest foreclosure rate in the country and a hurting job market.

"I'm down on my luck," Hoffman said, squeezing and sniffing the bread. "And food is going through the roof. I need help."

Hoffman, 55, is one of the growing number of "nontraditional" food pantry clients across the country. They include more formerly independent senior citizens, more people who own houses and more people who used to call themselves "middle-class" — those who are not used to fretting over the price of milk.

"We're getting calls all the time from people who want to know how to get here," said Kristine Gibson, community outreach manager at the Stockton food pantry. "And when I ask where they live, they give an address of a nice neighborhood, one where you or I would want to live."

Patient Renter said...

We have to ensure that lenders and lendees have the tools with proper timing to resolve this

Tools? WTF are you talking about lady. The only way to resolve this is to PAY YOUR MORTGAGE! All the "tools" in the world shouldn't stop the bank from taking your house if you're not paying them for it.

David said...

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Prices of single-family homes plunged a record 14.1 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, marking a pace five times faster than the last housing recession, data showed on Tuesday."

It must mean the bottom is near!

Patient Renter said...

Also newsworthy, nationwide sales numbers for April are absolutely cliffdiving. Do we have local numbers?

James said...

The Commerce report on new home sales showed the April rebound was led by a huge 41.7 percent surge in sales in the Northeast. Sales were up 8.3 percent in the West and 5.8 percent in the Midwest. The only region which saw a decline in sales in April was the South, where sales fell by 2.4 percent.

Patient Renter said...

Ah, it was NEW home sales I was looking at. I guess in the realm of resales, things have bottomed out, the market is taking off, buy now before it's too late, etc., etc.

Deflationary Jane said...

It's getting to be the wild west out there. The East Sacramento Trader Joe's was robbed this morning. Is it me or is there a significant increase in gun crime lately?