This week, the Los Angeles blog, LA Land, had the following picture to show what was happening with the Inland-Empire real estate market on the downside of the bubble.
Courtesy of the L.A. Land blog
Much of this area is a new housing ghost town:
A financial analyst fresh from a tour of construction sites in the Inland Empire is warning Wall Street of a "ghost town" where finished homes sit vacant and additional homes are still under construction.
"At several properties, there were a significant number of fully built homes sitting vacant along with a large number of additional homes still under construction," Sandler O'Neill & Partners analyst Aaron Deer wrote today after touring developments in Corona and Ontario. "At one master plan community, the entire development appeared to be vacant -- with the exception of crews working on new construction, it was a ghost town."
When I visited my friends down in Beaumont last November, I had taken these two pictures which reflect exactly the same empty housing with miles of fields plowed to put in more housing.
By the time I took these pictures, over 40,000 houses had been built in the Beaumont-Banning region and the field behind the houses had been the source of a 3-day dust storm that closed the schools and forced people to stay in their homes. My friends said that the sky was dark with the dust.
The boon of the housing bubble on the communities that welcomed the builders has turned into a nightmare that will not be easily overcome. How many of those 40,000 homes are destined to never be lived in? Especially when you realize this community is 90 miles from LA and at least 45 miles from Riverside? That's a lot of miles to drive when gasoline prices are so high.