Colorado has spectacular land with wide, open spaces and gorgeous views. Five years ago there was a high demand for new homes. Everyone wanted ‘a piece of the west’. Investors saw Colorado as a land of opportunity and bought huge parcels of land for development. Unfortunately, the investors bought the land right before the economy went sour and the demand for housing went down the tubes.
When the recession hit, investors halted development, some in the midst of paving roads, others after building one or two homes. Today, the developments sit idle – becoming “Zombie Neighborhoods” or “Zombie Subdivisions”. Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona and Montana are experiencing the same problem as Colorado. Investors had seen these states ripe for development too, before the housing bubble burst and economy took a dive.
I’ve written about “Zombie Homes” that were auctioned or sold. The homeowners thought they were free from further debt. Months, or years later, lawsuits are filed against the homeowner for the old, resurrected “Zombie Loan”. Now we have “Zombie Neighborhoods”.
Today, there are hundreds of thousands of undeveloped lots in our state, blighting the land and draining the tax revenues. Take a subdivision with only one house built and the other 199 lots are vacant. Public services are required to supply water to the entire subdivision and keep the streetlights lit even though there is only one home there.
In Dry Creek, Colorado one developer bought an old mobile home park. The 100 mobile homes were moved out but the housing boom was over before any homes were built. Today the development is full of cracked and decaying mobile home pads and scattered with derelict debris and weeds.
A recent study showed Douglas County has 8,646 vacant (undeveloped) lots, Mesa – 6,393, Eagle – 6,067, Montrose – 4,232 and Garfield 2,883. That’s a lot of “Zombie” land.
One of the hardest hit areas in the west is the land west of Jackson Hole, Wyoming where 68% of 10,225 parcels of land are undeveloped. The area had an unprecedented 70% population growth between 2000 and 2010. Development was booming, but the bad economy kicked in and sales stopped. The county tried working with the developers, and new ordinances allowed developers to replat the troubled areas reducing the number of lots. But the area is still left with the same acreage of “Zombie Land”.
Montrose, Colorado has most of its undeveloped lots within the city limits. These “Zombie Neighborhoods” have only one or two homes built in large subdivisions. The upkeep of these areas are draining the city’s revenues.
When the oil industry collapsed, Mesa County, Colorado was hit hard. Unfinished subdivisions went into default. Thousands of lots didn’t have the infrastructure (roads, drainage, water and sewer) required when they were approved. Buyers bought expecting these would be in place. Eventually the properties went into default. Who wants land without water or some kind of road to get to the property?
Phoenix, Arizona experienced the same thing. There was a frenzied demand for homes. Builders were clearing land, when the recession hit. Phoenix became a city of unfinished construction and development. Today, about 350 subdivisions are actively selling compared to the normal market of 600. It’s been a slow recovery.
County governments are struggling to cope with this onslaught of “Zombie” properties trying to figure out if they should reshape or kill them.
Keith A. Gantenbein, Jr. is a licensed, Colorado foreclosure defense attorney and real estate attorney located in Denver and servicing all of Colorado. His foreclosure defense practice includes foreclosure prevention, foreclosure assistance, foreclosure assistance Denver, loan modifications, foreclosure alternatives, short sales, and all other foreclosure defense legal assistance. He also handles real estate closings, title issues, lien issues, quiet title, real estate contracts, bankruptcies, mortgage negotiations, lender liability, real estate, civil litigation, contracts and landlord/tenant.
If you think you will be facing foreclosure, or are in the foreclosure process, or have had a wrongful foreclosure, contact Keith Gantenbein at (303) 618-2122 for a one-hour consultation where he will discuss your situation and go over all your options with you.
For more information on foreclosure help Colorado or foreclosure help Denver, visit our Denver foreclosure defense attorney WEBPAGE.