Sunday, December 16, 2007


Sacramento area:

Even in a region with more than 7,600 foreclosures in just the first 10 months of the year, no place has been hit as hard as Western Avenue in North Sacramento. On the block where Marshall lives, 16 of 45 homes have been foreclosed in 2007 – more than on any other block in the four-county region, according to a Sacramento Bee analysis of thousands of foreclosure records. One block away adds four more foreclosures to the tally. Several houses – such as one next door to Johnson's – are for rent but can't find tenants.

The residents on Western Avenue can testify that the story of a foreclosure doesn't end when a homeowner or tenant loses a house. For those left behind, a foreclosed home isn't a memory, it's a festering sore that can threaten a neighborhood with problems from drug dealers to transients to prostitutes.

Not that Western Avenue ever could have been mistaken for a nice stretch of road in Folsom or Granite Bay – the street long has had problems.

But, by several accounts, Western Avenue was getting better when multiple new homeowners – most carrying expensive subprime loans given to borrowers with shaky credit – moved into the neighborhood during the past three years. They were chasing bargains and believing the hype about everyone being able to own a home.