Los Angeles Times
June 3, 2008
A financial analyst fresh from a tour of construction sites in the Inland Empire is warning Wall Street of a “ghost town” where finished homes sit vacant and additional homes are still under construction.
“At several properties, there were a significant number of fully built homes sitting vacant along with a large number of additional homes still under construction,” Sandler O’Neill & Partners analyst Aaron Deer wrote today after touring developments in Corona and Ontario. “At one master plan community, the entire development appeared to be vacant — with the exception of crews working on new construction, it was a ghost town.”
Median home prices in both communities have dropped sharply over the last year, declining 33.6% in Corona and 30.3% in Ontario, according to DataQuick Information Systems. In Corona, the median sales price fell nearly $200,000 from May 2007 to May 2008, dropping from $565,000 to $375,000.
More from Deer’s note: “The homes all appeared to be empty, and there were no prospective buyers anywhere to be found. Surprisingly, the sales office was open … but the woman working there had questionable English fluency. When asked how many homes had been sold in the past month she simply responded, ‘Uh huh. Thank you. Yes!’ and handed us some additional literature on the property.”
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