Builders have been throwing homes together out of sub-standard parts for 15 years, yet somehow, we are only now beginning to figure out that our homes aren't worth anywhere near what we thought they were? Yeah, go figure.
Of course, North Carolina's notoriously lax attitude towards (criminal) illegal aliens isn't exactly helping things here...
These neighborhoods were hit hard by the wave of foreclosures rattling the nation. Damage is most visible in starter-home subdivisions across northern Charlotte, and in pockets in the east and southwest.
The best of them show subtle signs: Vacant houses. Overgrown weeds. Trash piled at the curb.
The worst of them already resemble decaying urban neighborhoods that keep police and housing inspectors busy [Ed.:—You know, most of Fairfax County looks that way, too. What's your point?]—and cost Charlotte millions to repair.
While the crime rate citywide held steady, the rate in the heart of Charlotte's 10 highest-foreclosure areas rose 33 percent between 2003 and 2006, an Observer analysis found. All of them are suburban areas filled with starter-home subdivisions. They were built since 1997 with homes valued at $150,000 or less.Windy Ridge is 5 years old, but already 81 of its 132 homes have lapsed into foreclosure. Dozens stand boarded up or vacant, with windows smashed and doors kicked in. Vandals have ripped copper wire from walls. [Ed.:—Apparently, copper theft is the future of America. Welcome to the third world, folks!] Vagrants and drug users frequent the empty houses—next door to families who thought they'd invested wisely in their northwest Charlotte suburb.Notice: This home is 15 miles away from the one in the above picture.
In east Charlotte, Laurie Talbot was recently awakened by gunfire in her 7-year-old subdivision. One bullet crashed into her house, through her son's bedroom, then landed on her bedroom floor.
"I thought I'd bought a home in Pleasantville," says Talbot, who moved from New York last year. [Ed.:—How many times will I have to read those 7 words in my lifetime?] "I never imagined in my wildest dreams that stuff like this would happen."
She can't get out, she says. "With all the foreclosures ... there's no way I could sell my house for what I have in it."