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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: HAMP

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February 3, 2012 at 11:32 AM

Leaving Las Vegas: foreclosure capital of America, but still standing

Hardest hit zip codes in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS — Ground zero in the nation’s housing crisis can be found near the intersection of Ann Road and Clayton Street in North Las Vegas. Those crossroads are smack in the middle of the 89031 zip code, which had more home foreclosures last year than any other in America.

That’s where we met Pacita Valerio.

Valerio is a single mother with two children, and she bought one of the first homes in her subdivision in 2005, for $255,000. Valerio said she moved from Hawaii to Las Vegas three years earlier so her daughter, then 18, could attend college on the mainland. To make the home downpayment, Valerio cashed in her retirement savings.

“I was one of the first to move in,” said Valerio, 55. “When you passed by here six or seven years ago, you didn’t see hardly anything. Then the homes grew like mushrooms.”

The subdivision was built by Pardee Homes, which according to a recent report has built homes for more than 40,000 families in southern Nevada since 1952.  Unfortunately, many of the homes in Valerio’s neighborhood never filled because the economy slowed and then went into freefall. To make matters worse, a large number of those who did buy eventually found themselves unable to make the mortgages.

This double whammy decimated market prices. Today, Valerio’s home is worth $95,000 according to her 2011 tax assessment, she said.

“There are probably 300 homes in this community, and I walk around and I see a lot of signs and empty houses,”  Valerio said. “Maybe 30% of the homes have people in them. The home two doors down they bought for $110,000 not long ago. It’s better, bigger than mine. I pay $1500 a month (for a mortgage). They pay $700.”

It’s a story that is all too common in the Las Vegas area.

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Comments | Topics: 89031, Foreclosures, HAMP