Foreclosure Ghost Towns Haunt Nation

Foreclosures have made an impact all over the country, but certain areas, such as Las Vegas (pictured left), have been turned into virtual ghost towns. Bruce Watson of our sister site DailyFinance vividly reports on the human toll these ghost towns have taken.

When pundits discuss homeownership, they often frame the issue in terms of purchases, lending rates, housing starts and other economic data. For the DailyFinance series "Ghost Towns of the Recession," we took a different tack: rather than rely on the numbers, we looked at some neighborhoods where the dream of owning a home has become a nightmare of foreclosures, underwater mortgages and abandoned houses.

Indeed, real estate agents, builders and banks sell homeownership as a key part of the American dream. This
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certainly fits into the mythos of Las Vegas, heart of the most foreclosed state in the nation and the subject of one of our articles. In Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson's "Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream," he follows in the footsteps of millions of pilgrims, from Mormons to mobsters to an endless stream of vacationers in search of a lucky roll of the dice. And Thompson wasn't the end of the line: A little over 10 years after his book came out, he was followed by a torrent of would-be homeowners seeking low-price real estate in a city that quickly became the fastest-growing area in America.

In his book, Thompson's search for the American dream ends at the burned-out husk of a former nightclub, a fitting metaphor for a city that went from the fastest-growing to the most-foreclosed city in America in the space of a year. As our article and its accompanying video document, today more than 80% of Vegas mortgages are underwater, and empty or abandoned home pepper the city.


For more on mortgages and related topics see these AOL Real Estateguides:
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