(orig. post 6-17-07; revised 6-18-07)
The destructive effects of foreclosures on surrounding neighborhoods and the concerns being voiced by the residents in these neighborhoods has been the subject of a number of recent media reports.
For example, KNBC-TV Channel 4
in Los Angeles reports on one Temecula couple who has gone around their neighborhood and photographed about 20 foreclosed properties (all part of the same homeowners' association) that have declined into blight, having brown lawns, overgrown hedges and broken fixtures, and which have homeowners concerned about the decrease in value of their own homes (see Homeowners Concerned About Foreclosure Blight
; or watch the KNBC Channel 4 TV report
The Tracy Press
(Tracy, California) reports that in Mountain House, California, authorities point to the abandoned swimming pools in the backyards of houses facing foreclosure, which serve as "breeding beds" for mosquitos, as a contributing factor to the local mosquito problem that has residents concerned (ie. West Nile Virus) and has kept the 19 workers who monitor and control mosquitoes for the local mosquito control district busy (I suspect that abandoned garden ponds and yards flooded by broken sprinkler systems may contribute to the problem as well). As a way of combating this problem, local officials have encouraged local residents to anonymously report abandoned pools to the mosquito control district; they will have mosquito fish dropped into the pools (these fish eat the insects’ larvae before they hatch into adults) (see Mosquitoes up a creek
The Dallas Morning News reports on the problems in the upscale community of Lake Ridge, in far southwest Dallas County spanning Cedar Hill and Grand Prairie. Reportedly, 88 foreclosures have been posted for this community (currently having 950 homes, with an additional 1,200+ unimproved lots) since January, 2007 compared with 48 in the first six months of 2006. This, plus a number of fire damaged homes (arson suspected in at least one fire) that are currently open to the elements have homeowners concerned for their community and their home values (see Officials say there's hope for troubled Lake Ridge neighborhood).
The Detroit Free Press recently reported that because of the glut of empty houses -- both for sale and foreclosed -- unkempt properties with thigh-high grass, busted shutters, falling roof shingles and litter, debris and mailers all over the porch, lawn and curb are increasing in nearly every community in metro Detroit that decreases everyone's property value (see Unheeded homes - Neglected unsold properties create neighborhood eyesores).
The Oakland Press (Pontiac, Michigan) reports that local officials throughout the county are having a tough time keeping up with all the complaints of overgrown grass in large part because of all the foreclosures. In addition to the unsightliness, officials are concerned that the overgrown grass serves as a haven for rodents and various other species, and as a breeding ground for mosquitoes (see No splendor in the grass of foreclosed properties).
The Miami Herald recently reported the story of the problems in one older Miami-area community, made up largely of long-time, working class and low-income residents, many of whom who are being forced to move from their homes of many years due, in large part, to the subprime mortgage paperwork that they signed without fully understanding (see Foreclosures soar in South Florida, and see also, Foreclosures Are Rising, Hurting The Poor (CBS4 - Miami, FL).
The Denver Post reported on a 100-villa, Aurora, Colorado community that is actually making a comeback from being devastated by mortgage fraud and mass foreclosures two years ago by a group of ex-convicts who turned the community "into their personal cash drawer, buying homes for inflated prices, obtaining 100 percent loans from distant lenders and splitting the excess proceeds." (see Villas close on better future).