Monday, May 23, 2011
Stuck in Foreclosure Ghettos
The wave of foreclosures that’s still haunting the housing market has created serious urban decay in many neighborhoods. One neighborhood that’s rife with abandoned properties is Watts, in Los Angeles. This story by the Associated Press demonstrates the huge problem getting banks to keep up the homes, so the homes don’t become from trash dumps that bring down neighborhood values even more.
Interestingly, the banks argue they don’t bear responsibility for maintaining the foreclosed houses because they aren’t the real owners. The “real” owners are the holders of mortgage-backed securities, which are pools of mortgages held by investors. Good luck getting them on the phone!
The City of Los Angeles has sued Deutsche Bank, whose name is on the title of many vacant properties, to try to force them to take better care of the properties they claim they don’t own.
Want to Invest in High-Speed Rail?
Of all the high-speed rail proposals we see in the U.S., the one that has the best potential to attract ridership is the line that would connect Washington D.C., Boston and stops along the way. And Amtrak is trying to attract private investors to create the line.
Getting private money to help pay for high-speed rail is something they’re talking about in California as well. The success of Amtrak, attracting private money, will be a test of whether it’s possible. If you can’t convince investors to put their money into a line that would serve this country’s most dense and transit-oriented region – the Northeast – then how could it happen in California?