Foreclosures Dont Always Make Good Neighbors

By: John West

With the rampant epidemic of foreclosures across the nation, we know this is devastating for the home owner, but does anybody ever wonder how this affects the neighbors? Imagine the problems that result from an increasing amount neighborhood homes sitting vacant.

You may spend hours tending your gardens, pruning the trees and mowing the lawn. Unfortunately the house next door which has been turned over to the bank, is not nearly so well cared for. The plants may be dying, and the lawn and gardens left untended.

These are common problems in neighborhoods containing foreclosed residences. Other issues include:


  • General decline of property values in neighboring homes.

  • Swimming pools left to stagnate and eventually creating health concerns.

  • Failure to continue regular pest control procedures, creating a haven for pesky rodents or insects.

  • General deterioration of the appearance of the neighborhood.



One of the more serious consequences is the evidence of crime due to vacant lots which offer a shelter for criminal activity including drug dealing and vandalism. Increased incidents of drug related activity can also lead to other crimes such as robbery and muggings.

In 2006 a paper called "The External Costs of Foreclosure: The Impact of Single-Family Mortgage Foreclosures on Property Values." studied the effects of foreclosures on neighboring homes and discovered that "An increase of fewer than three foreclosures a year for every 100 owner-occupied homes in a neighborhood, corresponds to about a 6.7 percent increase in violent crime."

Another fundamental problem is that of legitimate renters losing their homes. Since a large number of the foreclosed residences are rental properties, when a property is seized, the residents are removed and forced to find other accommodations. Now these tenants, some of whom were long term, stable renters, are out on the streets and the house sits abandoned.

This foreclosure epidemic has hit quickly and hard creating some nasty consequences. Unfortunately, this one could have been prevented with the initiation of proper legislation and monitoring of fraudulent lending practices.

Foreclosures
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