Sunday, May 11, 2008


This article touches on it a little bit, but something generally missing from our discourse is how rural gentrification can be a community killer. We talk about urban gentrification all of the time, but my guess is that rural gentrification is often much more destructive to longtime residents of developing rural areas, especially if their livelihood is tied to the land.

This farming community on the eastern edge of the Bay Area absorbed an outsize portion of the region's growth during the prolonged housing and development boom, adding 40,000 residents in the past 16 years as subdivisions and strip malls overtook agricultural land. It regularly ranked among the state's fastest-growing cities. Now, Brentwood is suffering disproportionately from the bust.

Hundreds of families have lost their homes to foreclosure since the beginning of last year, and in a sign of more to come, at least 1 out of every 16 households has received default notices.

For the neighbors left behind, the dreams of the pretty, tight-knit community that lured many there in the first place have dissolved.

You can have some fun searching around the listings and sales histories of these places. $250K haircuts from the peak.