Sunday, March 8, 2009

On the foreclosure crisis

The New York Times Magazine has an epic piece on the foreclosure crisis. The focus in on Cleveland, but you could substitute the word Detroit and never notice the difference. The whole Rust Belt is struggling with an unprecedented glut of abandoned homes, and the rest of the country's on notice.

Foreclosures are a problem all over the country now, but Cleveland got to this place a while ago. Cities, old and new, are looking at what’s occurring in Cleveland with some trepidation — and also looking for guidance. Already places as diverse as Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Las Vegas and Minneapolis have neighborhoods where at least one of every five homes stands vacant. In states like California, Florida and Nevada, where many of the foreclosures have been newer housing, there is fear that with mounting unemployment and more people walking away from their property, houses will remain empty longer, with a greater likelihood that they will deteriorate or be vandalized. ... “Cleveland is a bellwether,” Immergluck says. “It’s where other cities are heading because of the economic downturn.”

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