The picture above is a screenshot from the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office Foreclosure Mapper. Feel free to click through to get to the county’s map application and scroll around to see which houses in your area have been recently foreclosed upon. I have to admit I was quite surprised to find 50% of the foreclosures in my neighborhood have occurred in the last six months. This whole thing was supposed to be getting better, not worse, right? This is a topic which literally hits close to home for so many people. I know I have witnessed numerous houses go up for sale for a short time before the owner gives up and pulls the house off the market. Sometime shortly thereafter a moving van pulls up, a group loads all the worldly possessions of the family occupying the space inside and drives off never to be seen again. This scenario has been happening all over the South Metro time and time again since the beginning of the housing market failure.
In our neighborhood, including the house directly adjacent to mine, something very similar to what I mention above happened here. One of our townhouse association board members noted that many of those who foreclosed in our neighborhood simply walked away from their homes to leave it to become the bank and the association’s problem. Our association is then on the hook for the back association dues (which they try to get tacked onto the sale price if they can) which sometimes total more than $10,000! In the case of our previous next door neighbor they were just hoping to sell the unit for $120,000 which would cover what they needed to recoup. A neighbor relayed that this deadbeat family ended up moving to a new townhouse just a few miles away in Farmington where they currently reside. Seriously?
I used to mention frequently how the Apple Valley townhouses were going to become the ghetto of the South Metro. The Met Council made sure that the cities south of the river built plenty of high density neighborhoods to keep in line with what is considered forward-looking planning. The Met Council believed that high density housing would help to eliminate sprawl and bring more population under single municipalities driving up their tax revenues. An unintended consequence was that it also created large numbers of inexpensive and poorly constructed units which became ripe for an environment where a single devastating event, such as the housing market failure, quickly and drastically changed the dynamics of these neighborhoods. The numerous foreclosures have begun attracting renters of dubious quality in homes owned by people who don’t keep up their property. One house on the corner of my street, which used to house juvenile delinquents selling drugs who later graduated to crimes which appeared in the Dakota County Criminal Complaints, stills hows signs of damage from that group’s stay. Why? Because those who moved in don’t care as long as the rent stays cheap. The rest of us, who have been here for years and take care of our homes, get the shaft. At least one long-time neighbor (an original owner) is going to sell at her first opportunity, possibly at a loss, just so she can get out before it gets any worse. Such a shame.
So how about you? How many foreclosures are occurring in your neighborhoods? Are the numbers going up, down or staying about the same? Have you noticed the dynamics of your neighborhood change (upkeep of properties, renters, crime)? Are you fearful that because of the foreclosures and the resultant vacant properties/bad renters/destructive foreclosed owners that the South Metro may degrade its previously healthy image? Are you considering a move, even if it were at a loss, to leave your neighborhood? Whatever you have to say about foreclosures go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say.