Picturing the Foreclosure Crisis in Modesto, California

ghost towns foreclosureAmerica's home foreclosure crisis may have faded from the front-page headlines, but that doesn't mean the problem has gone away. Consider the situation in Modesto, California, a city of more than 210,000 people located about 90 miles east of San Francisco. According to RealtyTrac, an online service that markets foreclosed properties, Modesto had the nation's third-highest home foreclosure rate during the third quarter of 2010, just behind Las Vegas, Nevada, and Cape Coral/Fort Meyers, Florida.

See the photo gallery below for photos of the foreclosure crisis in Modesto. For the best viewing experience, choose the "Fullscreen" option in the photo gallery pop-up.



In practical terms, that means one in 36 homes in Modesto is in foreclosure, and the evidence of this is visible from street level. You won't find entire blocks of Modesto that stand vacant -- it's still not Detroit, after all -- but in practically every neighborhood and on every street, there's usually at least one house that's been foreclosed. It's pretty easy to spot: Amid the neatly manicured lawns and landscapes of Modesto's streets, foreclosed homes are the ones where the lawn has gone feral, the shades in the windows sit askew, and rows of legal notices are taped to the windows near the front door.

"We're going to be near the top of the foreclosure list for a long time," says Bob Johnson of Direct Appraisals in Modesto. "The majority of the foreclosures here are people who used home equity loans to buy cars and other things. Banks often try to help out with loan modifications, but that doesn't really help, so people just walk away. Bottom line is, people here say they just won't pay mortgages that are worth more than the value of the property."

Oddly, however, despite Modesto's high rate of foreclosure, some new home construction continues. At a brand-new subdivision called The Arbors at Graham Estates, workers pour concrete for new foundations, just yards away from a row of newly-completed homes. Prices here start at $230,000 for a 1600 square-foot house, and according to Tim Parish, the project superintendent for developer Frontier Community Builders, the new units are selling well, even though foreclosures often sell for half as much. Foreclosed homes are often plagued by mold infestation, damaged walls, and broken appliances, Parish says, so "even in a market like this, some people just don't want a used car."

It will be a very long time before Modesto will escape the havoc caused by the foreclosure crisis. "We see all kinds of properties, even homes bought in 2008." says Omar Perez, an appraiser with Cal Valley Appraisers. "It's going to be like this for a few more years, and that will keep a lot of downward pressure on values. Home values will eventually climb again, but I doubt we'll get to where we were in 2005 or 2006, even 10 years from now."

This article was written by Todd Lappin, who also took the photos in the gallery.

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wc92264

bforr,Socialism worked just fine for the Wall Street Banksters didn't it????They got paid 100 cents on the dollar with the BUSH Bailout.Incidently The Sub-Prime Mortgaes were instuted under the BUSH administration.These toxic loans were then sold as derivitives to unsusspecting buyers after Wall Street got the Rating Agencies to stamp them AAA.Then Wall Street knowing that these loans were bogus insured them to protact their losses that they knew were coming.It was the Ex CEO of Goldman Sachs,One Hank Paulson that BUSH installed as his Secretary Treasurer that bailed out Wall Street.For your additional information Paulson got to sell his shares of Goldman Sachs for over $400 million TAX FREE since he was appointed Treasurer.Yes,Bforr people are stupid.

December 16 2010 at 12:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hi Peg and Matt

Greed is the root of most sorrow. An agent tell you the value of houses they sold just weeks before has already doubled. After you jump in you are expecting the same profit on your American dream. You make a loan on the property, that belongs to a bank, and buy a new auto to go with youe new home.Remember, a street fish monger always shouts FRESH FISH, when he is tring to unload leftovers.

December 14 2010 at 6:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
B INSANE OBOZO

thank obozo and the dems... subprime loans, taxes (future taxes... people are not stupid, they will protect themselves before the axe falss.... how do you think they got rich to begin with?) SOCIALISM DOES NOT WORK... how's that hopey, changey thang working out for y'all?

December 14 2010 at 3:10 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
r5simpsons

One reason for the high rate is that the Democratic run government turned off the water in that area, so farmers cant grow anything which leads to high unemployment. Im sure her highness nancy has plenty of water for her grapes

December 14 2010 at 11:38 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jenni

writing like this is a waist of all ur time nothing is ever gonna change.this world jus plain sucks,

December 14 2010 at 8:34 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
jrv.and.co

How about this for a little stimulus?

Since the beginning of war in Afghanistan, and consequently war in Iraq, thousands of jobs have been created in support of the war effort (LOGCAP-3 and LOGCAP-4) and filled by thousands foreign nationals yet Americans go jobless.

It has been, by and large, an American effort financed by the American Tax payer at the immeasurable cost of (mostly) young American lives, yet very few of these jobs have been made available to the American worker.

With all the Politicians talking about stimulus and infrastructure jobs bills you would think that some sort of measures would have been put in place to ensure that such an enormous investment of American lives and treasure would return to the American citizenry.

With the American economy in shambles and Americans suffering lay-offs and unemployment one would think that even the lamest brained politician would have noticed, that so many positions and jobs needing to be manned in support of the war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan have been squandered opportunities to put Americans to work.

So much money has been spent and wasted over so many years in both Iraq and Afghanistan by hiring the cheaper labour of foreign nationals, one would think that some politician would have seen the wisdom of setting these jobs aside for Americans willing to go and support our troops in their efforts while also earning a decent living thus returning the money (our tax dollar) to be spent at home allowing Americans to keep their homes and their livelihood.

Even the most lame brained politician should have summarized that: American labor, while more expensive, would have been the wiser investment as the Americans working abroad in support of the war effort would inevitably bring these hard earned tax payer dollars back home to American soil to be spent on the American economy and inevitably recycled to once more support our troops in their effort.

It's nothing short of shameful that the hypocrite politicians simply ignore this situation at the expense of the American tax payer, the unemployed and our troops.

How about this for stimulus? Instead of having all these AMERICAN taxpayer dollars (for over so long a period of time) just carted away, by the fist full, by thousands of foreign nationals seeking their fortune at the expense of the American tax payer and the lives and moral of our troops. Hire an American for Gods sake!

December 14 2010 at 7:21 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jrv.and.co

How about this for a little stimulus?

Since the beginning of war in Afghanistan, and consequently war in Iraq, thousands of jobs have been created and filled by thousands foreign nationals yet Americans go jobless.

It has been, by and large, an American effort financed by the American Tax payer at the immeasurable cost of (mostly) young American lives, yet very few of these jobs have been made available to the American worker.

With all the Politicians talking about stimulus and infrastructure jobs bills you would think that some sort of measures would have been put in place to ensure that such an enormous investment of American lives and treasure would return to the American citizenry.

With the American economy in shambles and Americans suffering lay-offs and unemployment one would think that even the lamest brained politician would have noticed, that so many positions and jobs needing to be manned in support of the war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan have been squandered opportunities to put Americans to work.

So much money has been spent and wasted over so many years in both Iraq and Afghanistan by hiring the cheaper labour of foreign nationals, one would think that some politician would have seen the wisdom of setting these jobs aside for Americans willing to go and support our troops in their efforts while also earning a decent living thus returning the money (our tax dollar) to be spent at home allowing Americans to keep their homes and their livelihood.

Even the most lame brained politician should have summarized that: American labor, while more expensive, would have been the wiser investment as the Americans working abroad in support of the war effort would inevitably bring these hard earned tax payer dollars back home to American soil to be spent on the American economy and inevitably recycled to once more support our troops in their effort.

It's nothing short of shameful that the hypocrite politicians simply ignore this situation at the expense of the American tax payer, the unemployed and our troops.

How about this for stimulus? Instead of having all these AMERICAN taxpayer dollars (for over so long a period of time) just carted away by the fist full’s by thousands of foreign nationals seeking their fortune at the expense of the American tax payer and the lives and moral of our troops. Hire an American for God’s sake!

December 14 2010 at 7:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
frank1946

P. T. Barnum is laughing at us ! Mankind only learns thru pain and suffering !

December 14 2010 at 6:39 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
lonniedavey

I hope the Banks are happy. They started it, the government keeps it going and the beat goes on. Ask yourself, if the banks had gone to those people that lost their home and asked how can we help you stay here would they have taken more of a hit then they are facing now? I have screwed around with my lender for over four months now. All I wanted to ask for was bring me off an Arm that was going to adjust in November of 2011 and lock me into a 30 year fixed. Simple... The bank has trashed me, lost documents I have sent them and treated me like dirt, I have never missed a payment on one of my homes in over 40 years. No phone calls, No reason for no answers, No help. As a matter of fact, the home I had my mortgage with was sold three times and I was never even aware of it. I make my payment to one bank and the money goes someplace else. These bunch of sharks are being fed by the government and we are just waiting to be eaten. As soon as they feel like a meal, your toast. I can see why were in this mess, I don't see how we are going to get out of it or who is going to step up and stop this.

December 14 2010 at 1:07 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lonniedavey's comment
B INSANE OBOZO

take responsibility

December 14 2010 at 3:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ferrellfarmer

well guess what i guess no one has been stimulated by oboma or should i say obummer umm tell me again why he got elected and he is still wanting to take away form the rich lets thing about this if you are working does your pay check come from the poor or wealthy ummm no brainer and he still wants to take there money away come on get real and then i heard rosanne bar one time tell America that we ahve too much get real do you see her giving any of her money away that she made in and off American ??? welll all these big holiwood dingbats i that has said American have too much i realy do not see any of them stepping up tot he plate and giving any of there millions away or have you ??

December 13 2010 at 11:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply