Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Sign of the Times

Neil Young posted this song on You Tube recently. Notice his I-Pod! He takes a bite out of it at the end. It's all about the Big Bust (and I'm not talking Hooters).

The economic situation right now seems surreal -- something we studied in U.S. History, but never expected to experience in our lifetime. I guess it's human nature to think that the bad crap will always happen to someone else. We're acutely aware of the current economic crisis here in Phoenix. It's everywhere we look. Small shops and big chains going out of business, developers going bankrupt, foreclosure signs, high unemployment, long lines at job fairs to get in the door, etc . . .

Real estate is especially bad. People are stuck. The odds against selling or renting a house are huge, so you stay put and watch your equity and home values plunge. Developments and developers all over the valley are bust. Fulton Homes, one of the biggest commercial and residential developers in this area, just declared bankruptcy.

On our walk to the park on Friday, I snapped a few photos on the way. Here's a new (now bust) development just south and east of our neighborhood. It's a scary repetition of what we're seeing all over the Phoenix area -- a sign of the times.

The homes originally started out two years ago advertised in the low 800's. Then they changed the sign to low 700's. Then all the way down to low 500's. The development was originally named Charlevoix, then changed to Montage.

Construction started on three homes (I hope models, because otherwise, some poor souls lost their down payments) and progressed to the stage where windows were in and roof tiles were ready for installation. The exterior insulation then turned yellow and everyone started to notice work had stopped. Then chain link fences went up around all three homes. That's a foreclosure sign -- the bank trying to protect its assets. Now the chain link is down and they're stripping the homes. All the windows have been ripped out. (Look below.)

We're not sure if the bank is tearing them down, or scavengers are having at it. But the house below is being stripped back to the studs.

Anyway, that's a little edition of the Hard Times News from our area! I think a lot of us will need to learn a new vocabulary word before this is all over!

re⋅sil⋅ience -- noun
1. the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
2. ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy

As Neil Young says -- Keep on bloggin' till the power goes out. Your battery's dead, twist and shout!


jeanie said...

We are seeing those signs here as well. Everyday we are grateful that we were able to sell our house when we did in order to downsize and move to the beach. It was difficult because the 'virus' had already begun but hadn't really been named yet when we listed on July 1st. I feel like we dodged a giant bullet. WHEW!

Moongrl722 said...

How sad, those houses look like they would have been really pretty. Mr. Wonderful and I are both grateful every day that we still have our jobs.

Life's a Beach! said...

You did dodge a bullet Jeanie! I really shouldn't complain because we sold at the height of the market in Seattle, and we don't plan on moving for awhile. Prices started dropping down here shortly after we signed on the dotted line. But that's life!

Jana, nowadays I think you have to feel lucky if you have a roof over your head and money to pay the bills. And extremely grateful if you do still have jobs.

I hope they're dismantling those houses. Since the fences are down, I'm thinking another developer may have purchased the land and is getting ready to tear them down.

Vee said...

Beck, what a great post. I also wonder if the homes are being stripped by thieves or by the developer. I haven't seen that in our area. Wow!

I am so happy to have our little bungalow and so grateful we still have our jobs. Times are tougher than our generation has ever seen. You are right about that, Beck.

Great post!

Isla Deb said...

You were my inspiration today, Beck. I just did a similar post because I think it's important for people to see what's going on...or NOT going on. I thank God I have my job at the university...and have a roof over my head.

Life's a Beach! said...

Thanks Deb and Vee! I'm definitely thankful for what I DO have! (And I'm damn glad that I got good news at the doctor's office on Monday!!!)

Islagringo said...

If this weren't so depressing, it would be funny. Can you imagine a normal (albeit large) large house selling for that much. No wonder the economy is in crash mode.

Life's a Beach! said...

Exactly Wayne. If you think those prices seem inflated, you should see what houses like that are going for in Seattle! The housing market got totally out of whack! The Big Bubble! What goes up, must come down. Ugh.