Early buyers in new housing developments are finding themselves stranded in virtual ghost towns as developers go belly up.
"Since real-estate tanked, many new planned communities across the country are half-empty, with for-sale signs outnumbering residents by a large margin.
Some of the projects abandoned by bankrupt developers are in places that were hotbeds of new housing construction: Southern California, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Phoenix. As of July, the percentage of vacant housing stock available for sale or rent stood at 4.8 percent nationally, the highest figure in at least 33 years, according to Zelman & Associates, a real-estate research firm.
Daily life in these developments seems a bit post-cataclysmic. Children play on elaborate but empty playgrounds. They walk their dogs past rows of shiny houses that have never been lived in. Voices echo up and down the block. Unfinished houses and vacant lots strewn with construction debris clutter the horizon."