Mortgage crisis guts Cleveland neighborhoods as it bypasses Buffalo

March 07, 2008
Thirteen homes on East 52nd Street have windows made of wood now. Snow drifts high onto 13 doorsteps, many of which haven’t been crossed since thieves ripped out the plumbing to sell for scrap.
     East 52nd Street is just one of countless streets in this city’s Slavic Village and other neighborhoods across Cuyahoga County that look like they’ve been hit by a very selective natural disaster.
     Three houses in a row will be abandoned and ripped-up, and then four more will be neat and lived-in, and then the pattern will repeat itself again and again on street after street.
     All told, local officials estimate there are 10,000 abandoned homes in Cleveland all of a sudden. Chalk it up to a man-made disaster, born of greed, that turned America’s real estate market into a big, bulging bubble. Now the bubble has burst, and the nation is possibly on the edge of a recession as a result. More immediately, the real estate market has collapsed in places like Cleveland and Detroit. Meanwhile, Buffalo has experienced comparatively minimal damage from the subprime mortgage meltdown and the resulting tidal wave of foreclosures.