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Are Bulldozers Now The Best Neighbor?

Bulldozer
Photo by: Ruthanne Reid
Bulldozer

So this is what it has come to.

A bank in Texas is bulldozing four brand new homes and twelve nearly finished homes in Victorville city, California, about 85 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Guaranty Bank of Austin acquired the homes in foreclosure and is destroying them, reportedly, to provide a "safe environment" for the neighbors.

Check out a local guy who posted the amazing video. He says the builder was being fined daily for the homes, but if they were already in foreclosure, then the builder should be out of the picture. Anyway, check it out.

The same thing is happening in other areas; in fact this guy says the bulldozer operator told him he's got twenty other homes to knock down in a community about an hour away from there. In fact, federal lawmakers have put aside $6 billion in the last year for local governments to either rehab or raze foreclosed and abandoned homes. But it seems unlikely that's enough. An analysis by AP news finds that as of March 31 there are about 4 million homes in the U.S. that have been empty for more than 90 days. That's about 3 percent of all U.S. homes.

Some hard hit areas are of course in the rust belt, and out West in the former bubble states, but also in Buffalo, NY, where there are reportedly 10,000 vacant homes. Most are existing homes, but many are brand new. One development in Albuquerque, NM is about to be smashed as well, or at least several unfinished homes in it are. The homes were abandoned by the Las Vegas builder who can't refinance the construction loans, and then subsequently vandalized. Thieves took everything, including the kitchen sinks. And these were nice homes, valued at $300,000.

Just a slice of real estate in today's market.

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  • Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.

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