April 14, 2024

Developing Trouble in Suburbs


Two reports from different suburbs across the country indicate new kinds of pain for homeowners and communities.

The first, from North Carolina, describes the outbreak of violence, fear, and break-ins mounting in new suburbs north of Charlotte. Home foreclosures prompted by the subprime mortgage mess prompted owners — local and out-of-state — to abandon properties in what the Charlotte Observer called “starter” subdivisions, where homes generally are priced for less than $150,000.

While downtown Charlotte neighborhoods improve, as they are in other big cities, new suburbs fade and at a speed much faster than city neighborhoods declined in the 1960s and 1970s.

The other report comes from Antioch, IL, a suburb of Chicago, where one of the region’s largest developers declared bankruptcy in early November and abandoned work at the Clublands subdivision. “Streetlights aren’t installed, roads aren’t paved and half-built homes stand as stark symbols of the builder’s financial woes,” reports the Chicago Tribune.

The subdivision was slated to contain 960 single-family homes with prices from around $240,000 to $410,000, said the newspaper. “An 8,000-square-foot clubhouse also was to be built, along with swimming pools, tennis courts and other amenities.” Only a third of Clublands’ homes have been completed.

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