Zombieland, California…AKA Ladera Ranch

Surviving California can testify that this retail center is now a modern ghost town.

Inquiring minds are reading about one of the newest tony areas of Orange County, California and its troubles in real estate. Apparently, there are stories how the American Dream has gone slightly a rye. It has become Zombieland, CA:

In July, though, the bank decided the couple didn’t merit a permanent “mod.” The Vecchiones, who own the toy store in Ladera, began negotiating with Chase to do a short sale, in which the lender allows the debtor to sell for less than what’s owed and walk away. So what Rhea says troubles Joshua: They’re still listed in Chase’s system as an active foreclosure.

“How am I in foreclosure?” he asks after hanging up. “I’m not in foreclosure.”

A few weeks after that call, the Vecchiones get another one, this time approving the short sale. They bought it for more than $1.1 million in 2006 — the height of the bubble — with a high-rate, interest-only mortgage. Paying it meant staycations and other cuts, but they figured they could refinance in a couple of years, as the house grew in value.

Please don’t feel too sorry for them. When all is said and done, they will have lived in the house for almost 2 years completely free:

There’s a spot in the backyard where Joshua once planned to add a little apartment for his parents. Now he figures his family of five will move in with them. He’s sad not to have one last holiday season in the house. But if all goes as planned, the entire process, from first missed payment to renting the U-Haul, will have taken 22 months.

Earlier in the article it is reported that the family’s mortgage payment is about $8000 per month. That means this family will have had enjoy a gift of $176,000 of free rent from JP Morgan Chase.

The entire article is a very good read.

Remember that figure when the banks come back and ask for even more bailout money.


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