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Housing crunch: New homes bulldozed

May 5, 2009 2:08:45 PM PDT
A bank in San Bernardino County decides to scrap homes instead of selling them, giving new meaning to the housing crunch.The area was supposed to have 16 new homes in Victorville off the 395 in Bear Valley Road, but the homes never sold in the midst of the housing crash.

The bank that repossessed the property said that clearing the rubble instead of putting more money into the homes that hadn't been completed was the cheapest fix.

Victorville residents like Brooke Bollinger have watched for weeks as a 16-unit neighborhood was flattened. Four completed model homes, along with a dozen homes still under construction, have been bulldozed in the last three weeks.

The upscale development is just the latest development victim in Southern California's real estate crash.

"They were beautiful homes, they were luxury, they were huge," Bollinger said.

The developer hoped to sell the homes for more than $300,000 each. Building permits were issued in September of 2007, but as median home prices started to tank months later, there were no buyers.

Construction stopped, and by last August, the entire development had been repossessed by Guaranty Bank in Austin, Texas.

Guaranty Bank was facing fines from the city daily if they didn't do something with the unfinished homes.

The bank said it was cheaper to destroy the homes than try to complete and sell them, but what makes financial sense to the bank just isn't sitting right with the folks who have watched the homes come down.

"I was carpenter most of my life, and we used to build houses, not tear them down," said Jeff Cittel, a Victorville resident.

"I think it's terrible, man, all the homeless running around without a place to live, and there they are knocking these brand new houses down."

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