In Detroit, bulldozers crumple vacant homes left behind during foreclosure by the thousands. Las Vegas developments sit abandoned, and the rapid growth of Stockton, Calif., has screeched to a halt in the wake of the Great Recession.
As some markets such as San Diego and Washington, D.C., lead the recovery out of the housing crisis, others are becoming ghost towns. A study from James Follain of the Research Institute for Housing America showed in some markets such as Cleveland and Stockton, a recovery could be many years out as populations are moving out faster than the homes they vacate can either be resold or even destroyed.
“Such decreases in population and employment trigger declines in the demand for housing, and because people are more mobile than houses, it takes many years for supply and demand to become balanced again and for house prices to return to prior levels,” Follain wrote.
From the LA Times:
Although the causes of the decline in these metropolitan areas are distinct from the loss of employment from shrinking manufacturing and industry in some of the nation’s old industrial powerhouses, these areas could experience fates similar to places such as Cleveland and Detroit, with neighborhoods experiencing high rates of vacancies for a very long time, according to a study to be released Thursday.
“Some neighborhoods are going to suffer tremendously or are never going to come back or come back very, very slowly,” said James R. Follain, senior fellow at the Rockefeller Institute of Government and author of the study published by the Research Institute for Housing America, a division of the Mortgage Bankers Assn.
A traditional city in decline is one that has suffered a sustained population drop, leaving behind empty houses, apartment buildings, offices and storefronts. Cleveland and Detroit, for instance, suffered from the erosion of manufacturing and the loss of residents, who left in search of jobs.
Instead of eroding a particular industry, however, the housing bust left a glut of homes because of overbuilding and the foreclosure crisis. Follain argues that the future of these cities is threatened in similar ways to that of Rust Belt cities.
“Long-vacant neighborhoods are going to develop, and we can imagine what can happen,” he said, including potentially higher crime and lower property taxes.
Celia Chen, a housing economist with Moody’s Economy.com, predicts that a full recovery in parts of California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida won’t occur until 2030.
“The housing boom elevated home prices in a number of areas far, far above what can be supported by the economic fundamentals, and so prices have fallen significantly, and they will remain below their previous peaks easily for a decade, or even two decades,” Chen said.