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Boulder City, NV

Welcome to Zombieland: Ladera Ranch, California

The affluent Orange County neighobrhood of Ladera Ranch - where zombie homes reside.
note: Don't blame me, I didn't write it:
said by CNN/Money Magazine--> »money.cnn.com/2010/12/07/real_es···m?hpt=C2 :
Ladera, an unincorporated community of about 25,000, is conspicuously affluent -- it's home to Tamra of The Real Housewives of Orange County. The schools are strong, the surrounding chaparral foothills pretty. Good jobs are to be had in nearby Irvine. In short, this is a place a lot of folks would consider a slice of heaven, which is why MONEY began following what was going on here two years ago, as the dream of the house that made you rich began crumbling.

Now heaven has turned into limbo, where defaulters may live for a year or more with a giant mortgage they can't fully pay. Not counting homes already in the foreclosure process, about one in 10 Ladera mortgages is at least 30 days late, according to LPS Applied Analytics. And houses in the foreclosure process have been delinquent an average of 16 months, up from seven in 2008.

It Only Looks Healthy

On MONEY's first day back in Ladera Ranch this summer, what jumps out is how nice the place still looks -- no air of depression here. Although it's a bubble-era town, having sprung up in 1999 from what had been a real ranch, Ladera isn't like some of the foreclosure disaster zones you've heard about -- the outskirts of Phoenix, say, or Riverside County, Calif., just over the Santa Anas.

Ladera wasn't a magnet for "drive till you qualify" buyers who might have been better advised to rent. The average credit score on a loan here was a solid 734.

Today 4.4% of homes in Ladera with mortgages are in some stage of foreclosure, compared with less than 3% for Orange County. That's given the place a bad rap locally, even though the vast majority of Laderans are, of course, paying their mortgages.
"What's annoying is the perception that Ladera has a bigger group of people who were irresponsible," says Devon Hocker, a real estate agent and publisher of a local magazine.

Houses were wired for broadband and set up for home offices, she says, attracting entrepreneurs who had high incomes, at least in the boom. (Many were in real estate; a local joke goes that when you're pulled over on the main drag of Antonio Parkway, the deputy asks for your registration and broker's license.)

Because Ladera is so young, owners are more likely to have paid nosebleed prices and to have financed with one of the easy-pay mortgages that swept California after 2005.

Orange County has long been a bastion of conservative values; the idea of homeowners not paying and then staying put rankles. Larry Roberts, a local blogger and real estate investor better known as IrvineRenter, calls them "squatters."

One hot question is how much of this is "strategic" defaulting -- that is, how many people who have stopped paying have simply decided they will no longer pour money into a bad investment? Californians talk about short sellers with Audi's and/or conspicuous surgical enhancements. (A tour of Ladera short-sale listings confirms the first part of the story.)[that was edited, was "BMW's". Couldn't help it]

But the financial picture of defaulters usually isn't rosy. "There's a strategic element in most defaults, and few defaults are purely strategic," says analyst Goodman. "You have your hours cut back at work or go through a divorce and re-evaluate ... You don't just say, 'Oh, it's three o'clock, time to default.' "
Longer, much more detailed story at link. Anyone here familiar with this area? Why are these OC Yuppies getting "special treatment"? Why isn't the bank(s) just giving them the old heave-ho? BTW, my evil plans have been foiled!: »Re: SoCal Economy Round Table / August 2008

Photo Gallery: »money.cnn.com/galleries/2010/rea···dex.html

Sun N Sand
The mention of "Squatters" brings to mind an article in OC Weekly about 21st century squatters moving into a vacant house and living rent free. (Take OC Weekly articles with a grain of salt)
The Real Squatters of OC
Can you really just show up at a multimillion-dollar Newport Coast home and move in without buying it or paying rent? Apparently, yes!


Hacienda Heights, CA
reply to dogma
it's a nice place - i go eat lunch there now and again. the houses are built pretty close together, though.

i'm not sure they're getting special treatment, it's just the bank hedging where it counts the most. the people who live in these houses tend to be the types that absolutely will not let the house run down, even if they aren't paying their mortgage. appearances. so, the banks get free maintenance while not having to flood the market where they will lose the most if things sold now. these houses were sold at a huge premium, most are new, and so the banks, on a percentage scale, are by far the largest equity owners across the whole tract, and are the most upside-down. so, they hedge by keeping the willing debtors in, keeping supply artificially low to keep prices from finding a much lower bottom, and just wait for the rebound. not only would they lose the most if prices across the neighborhood cratered (causing more people to strategically default, by the way), they also stand to gain the most if things rebound. if the market strengthened overnight, they could, i think, kick all the defaulters to the curb and turn an immediate profit (i don't think there's a latches defense to foreclosure evictions). they're just sitting on inventory that's stored in a relatively good place, as compared to most the the rest of ForeclosureLand.

the doofus who uses the term squatters... it's a term of art in the real property law world, and to misuse it is going to cause some problems. for instance, i don't think any of the "squatters" could end up with ownership of the property outright (through adverse possession) by squatting for 5 years, even if they pay property taxes. it just doesn't count as "adverse" if you've been notified that you're in default and the bank just keeps extending the eviction date. of course, who knows if the banks are keeping good records, but if there was one place where they would, it'd be here.
Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam.

Dana Point, CA
reply to dogma
I have driven through there many times. As jig See Profile said, most of the places are built on top of each other with very little private yardage.

yardage? Is that an acceptable word?