This weekend, my wife and I made our way up to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport to grab a helicopter ride above ground zero for the real estate collapse. It isn't just in marginal neighborhoods, as some observers have suggested. Spot the foreclosure in this photograph.
In fact, if you look closely, you can spot a second distressed property in the picture.
Nor is it only individual single-family houses. South Florida is dotted with what Mexicans used to call “obras negras”: stopped construction projects left to rot. And in the South Florida humidity, they will rot: unsealed foundations will flood and unprotected fixtures will erode. They are calling them “ghost towers” down here.
It was a Sunday, but note the lack of construction machinery around the site.
In fact, readers of this blog have already had contact with what became a pair of ghost towers. Last year, we spotted my brother working on a high-rise located on the border of the Everglades, far out on the urban edge, near nothing but a ginormous shopping mall. Now it is an infamously distressed complex in which, as far as the local papers can figure, no one lives.
Of course, the recession is also visible at ground level:
Normally, the employees shoo off the ducks. Not these days. No stores, no employees.
Now, there is an old shibboleth the religious observation rises during recessions. And there is some academic evidence that recession aids newfangled Protestant denominations. But when we buzzed over this evangelical church on a Sunday morning, we didn't see much evidence in favor.
And here we are, my wife and I, flintily examining the situation.
Can you see the Great Recession in your neighborhoods?