On the cover of their most recent issue, Fortune
declares the "return of Real Estate" to be upon us. With the national housing market wrecked by low sales and marred by high foreclosure rates, the optimistic sentiment seems odd. Have they not seen the scores of empty homes?
Across America, these abandoned homes have formed into something more disturbing: ghost towns. Las Vegas, a city that The Economist
calls the "foreclosure capital of America," is now surrounded by "eerily quiet" suburbs. Detroit, another declining city, has watched the city's population drop 25 percent over the last decade. Last year, in an effort to rid the city of its rapidly expanding inventory, Mayor Dave Bing announced plans
to demolish 10,000 of Detroit's abandoned homes.
In February, new home sales have plunged to record lows, down 28 percent from the year prior, according to new government data
Economists and analysts, however, think things may actually get worse. According to Lender Processing Services, around 6.9 million homeowners
were either delinquent or in foreclosure proceedings through February, and 1 in every 577 housing units received a foreclosure filing last month, finds data provider RealtyTrac
Nationwide, empty houses are leading to empty neighborhoods, especially in Arizona, California, Nevada and Michigan
. The slide show below shows a few examples of the results: once vital communities reduced to empty living rooms and overgrown weeds.Click below to see some of the most prominent new ghost towns -- and to submit a photo of your own