Unsold houses create 'ghost towns'

July 5, 2008 at 12:46 PM
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ONTARIO, Calif., July 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. housing downturn has spawned "ghost towns" of newly constructed California subdivisions sitting vacant for lack of buyers, an analysis found.

The analysis by investment banking firm Sandler O'Neill & Partners reveals high-end homes in such Los Angeles-area suburbs as Ontario and Corona, Calif., seem ready for new families but entire blocks are vacant, with no cars in the driveways or children's toys in the yards, producing an eerie, ghost-town feel, The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

"At one master plan community, the entire development appeared to be vacant," part of the report by analyst Aaron Deer read. "With the exception of crews working on new construction, it was a ghost town. The homes all appeared to be empty and there was no prospective buyers anywhere to be found."

Home prices in Corona and Ontario have dropped by more than 30 percent during the past year, the British newspaper reported, saying the area in the state's "Inland Empire" has become undesirable because of high gas prices and the long commutes necessary to reach Los Angeles.

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