Tuesday, June 9, 2009

OpEd on Toad Mansion in N&O today

The N&O ran an editorial today on the effects the economic crisis has had on the building boom in older neighborhoods.

Bizarrely, the teardown craze hit neighborhoods whose value lay precisely in their small-scale charm.

Harrop notes that the real estate crises has run in three waves:

This is part of what experts are calling the third wave of the real-estate crisis. The first wave was speculators fleeing when prices began to fall. The second was homeowners hit hard when their interest rates "reset" from their very low introductory rates. Many of these adjustable-rate mortgages were subprime.

The third wave has hit prime mortgages held by the cream of the borrowers. Many of these homeowners had suffered a job loss or collapse in business income.

Here in oldish Raleigh, Anderson Drive shows 8 properties for sale in a three block stretch. Not for sale at this time are a couple of occupied spec houses, who are riding this wave out as rental or owner occupied. Yet several of the adjoining side streets have a serious case of culture shock.

Chateaus were plopped down on intimate village streetscapes. Why do that in places beloved for their neighborly settings ....

Why do that, indeed.

For we who mourn the homes that the giants replaced, the sadness lingers. The builders of bigness may be moving on, but they've left their pyramids behind. Charming rows of bungalows in Seattle and Denver still sit in the shadows of bulky villas shoehorned on small lots.

Full read is here.

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