Monday, November 1, 2010

Asset stripping of foreclosed homes

Here is an article about asset stripping of foreclosed, abandoned homes. Though the article is from 2008, I'm sure the trend continues. Abandoned houses are hit by scavengers that strip out sellable items, especially copper, which fetches a high price. This to me seems perfectly understandable, and I can't consider it exactly as stealing when someone takes things from a house that no one owns, and that the bank has taken over after shady financing deals. Anyway, I was stricken by the article's sympathetic treatment of realtors and banks that are having "their" assets stripped by scavengers. These realtors and bankers made shady deals to "sell" houses to people who couldn't pay for them, then kicked those people out of the house, and left neighborhoods gutted, dotted by empty houses. The article makes it seem like the criminals are those working in the scrap metal industry. Almost as an afterthought, a mortgage broker quoted in the article makes the brilliant observation that perhaps banks could avoid such situations by maintaining tenants in the houses. Gee, is he saying that keeping people in houses is better than having a bunch of vacant properties everywhere? What a genius!

The article ends on a stupid, decadent note: "Real-estate brokers say more needs to be done to stave off further damage to areas hit hard by waves of foreclosures". The article and the real-estate snake oil salesmen it quotes aren't saying that the damage is from foreclosures themselves, from kicking people out of their homes and the havoc that wreaks on neighborhoods and the nation in general. These greedy poverty mongers are just concerned with the physical damage to the buildings, which they naively believe they'll somehow be able to resell in an insolvent country. What a shameful situation.

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