Sunday, October 19, 2008

Gallery of the foreclosed

At times, this stretch of 118th Avenue in South Jamaica, Queens, feels not so much like a neighborhood but a memory of one.

A red-brick house with overgrown weeds in the yard is boarded shut. A house with a dirty awning has a thick chain looping out from a hole in the door where a deadbolt once was. On the front window of a vacant property around the corner, someone has taped a sign warning that the water supply has been shut off and antifreeze added to the sinks and toilets.

Door to Door, Foreclosure Knocks Here

This area at 118th Avenue and 153rd Street is at the center of New York’s foreclosure crisis. About 28 percent of the homes in this working-class neighborhood just north of Kennedy Airport have been in some phase of foreclosure since 2004, and its census tract leads the city in foreclosure filings.

More than two years ago, most homes here were occupied and the neighborhood was making strides against the drugs, violence and abandonment that had plagued it in the past, residents and merchants said. But today they mostly talk about decreasing property values, increasing crime, struggling small businesses and fraying community bonds. They talk of leaving, and wonder whose house is next.

1 comment:

LRK said...

Up until at least last year, there were ads on Caribbean and hispanic radio shows that aired on pay-for-play stations such as WPAT-am. The spots usually featured some operator recorded off a phone line or on some low quality tape recorder enticing prospects with "remember if you don't own a home you are homeless!!!!.

They were also blatant in offering "no income verification loans" and "no money down" but not forthcoming with interest rates or the terms of ARMs they offered.

From the ads I heard -all- of these hotshots were from the same communities they were victimizing.

Some of the people who fell into these traps might have been able to handle a normal fixed-rate but the majority were ignorant of the details and victims of the buying mania that fuels and eventually kills all bubbles.

Until they can refinance, some folks might be able to weather this period by taking-in a tenant, renting out the garage and building front.

As for those houses already empty, look, eventually people who can afford them will buy them.