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July 06, 2009


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Speaking personally, not really. We picked up our place relatively cheaply from a couple that was moving back to CA(!) in a hurry, and I know of one local REO. That said, HOA dues appear to keep getting paid, the community pools are clean and full and nobody has a dead lawn (with the partial exception of myself.)

Lots of door-to-door solicitors/handbill folks, though. Also, several couples we know are talking about trying to grab some local distressed properties cheap as long-term investments they can keep an eye on. Also, regionally speaking, the entire area is pretty well off compared to the rest of the country.

Follow-up: There _have_ been a few break-ins in nearby neighborhoods, largely facilitated by people leaving their garage doors open (as per one incident mentioned in your linked article.) However, there doesn't appear to have been a large-scale increase in crime, at least not yet. Borderline paranoid-schizophrenic that I am, I went ahead and installed security cams and additional alarms, anyway. Better safe than sorry.

Hell no. The construction site of the nuclear plant is busy as ever, and the Polish guest workers are keeping the local stores preoccupied. Business as usual, if not more so.

And, as I mentioned at Randy's livejournal, they've brought in new business -namely, a genuine Polish food store. I visited the "Delikatesy" in downtown Rauma just yesterday, and woo boy, not only did they have actual Polish food, but even the prices were on the Polish level!

Oh yeah, and the local restaurant - think of an American-style "roadhouse", a bit like the one in "Twin Peaks" - just got a new owner, who renovated and reopened the place. The place is just packed every weekend, even though during the last years, it was practically dead, because the previous owner didn't know how to run the business.

I love rural Finland.

The city that I left six months ago, on the other hand, is sinking in lethargy. And the Helsinki region is the Centre of Decay and the Heart of Darkness, as always.

Also, I visited Riga back in June, and even though it's supposed to be the Depression Capital of the Baltic Region, it didn't really seem that bad. Lots of tourists, lots of business, and so on.


J. J.

Well, I shuttle my life in between Toronto, ON and San Marcos, TX, neither of which have been too badly hit by the Great Recession/Little Depression. The only real sign of the unpleasantness I've seen was a lecturership that I almost had that got financial crisised out of existence.

I was thinking about this business this morning, and I'm kind of agog that Florida and California were effectively able to sink the economy of the entire planet less China. They are two very large states, but at the end of the day they're still two states.

Oddly, not so much on the Jersey shore, at least the part where I live.

Hrmm, let me correct that. In some towns that were ostensibly up and coming before the recession, there are a lot of stalled projects and empty storefronts. Asbury Park, for instance, faces an uncertain future. Again.

But wow, those articles boggled my mind. Did nobody question if there was going to be a real demand for some of those buildings?

It's easy enough to tell that the light-roofed house near the center of the top photo is a foreclosure. Its scraggly lawn and green pool are pretty clear giveaways. No matter how hard I try, however, I just can't figure out what the other distressed property might be. Hints?

Sure! (And I'll point it out if you still can't spot it; I never would have, if my cousin hadn't pointed out a similar house in her neighborhood.) The house has a sign of neglect in a place where the owner is in fact responsible (and could be pressured if they lived there) but where a casual buyer might not realize it.

Damn. Ya got me. I don't see dead trees, and there are no sidewalks that an owner would be on the hook for. No obvious roof damage apart from the center house, either. Where's Waldo? (Is that a bush I see growing out of the roof in the upper-middle place?)

Let's see. The vegetation in front of the house on the far left, the one with the covered swimming pool, is pretty wild. It's overgrown to the point where the house probably can't be seen from the road. I'm inclined to discount this one, however, because the vegetation surely has been growing wild for years. Even in Florida's climate things don't grow that fast.

Other than that ... well, I can't think of any other possibilities.

By the way, only after looking at the picture for a while did something else dawn on me - not one car is visible. Guess everyone in that 'hood parks in the garage.

Okay, another possibility. Look at the house directly to the left of the obvious foreclosure. A tree is covering a significant portion of its roof, perhaps that violates hurricane-safety codes.

In addition, that house's swimming pool may be greenish, though the shadows make it hard to tell for sure.

It's the house with the tennis court to the right. My cousin pointed this out to me in an unoccupied for-sale house in his neighborhood. The owner is responsible for the corner lawn, but potential buyers register it as public space, not part of the house. So the realtor stops maintenance on it, figuring that it will lower the carrying costs without affecting the sales price. Eventually it sells, and the new owner fixes the corner, or it goes into foreclosure and the whole property starts deteriorating unless either the bank is pressured into maintaining it or the local city government (or, more likely, homeowners' association) decides to pay to keep up the property.

There are plastic chairs out by the pool, but no one in them and no sign of people.

Here in Toronto, the only sign of the great recession in the built landscape that I've noticed is the impending failure of the Kazakhstan-based Bazis International to build its 80-story condominium tower at the intersection of Yonge and Bloor. Downtown Toronto looks to be fairly well off.

Outside the downtown? Well, I have to admit that I know only the old City of Toronto, not the other municipalities included in the merger.

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