Take Two for September 13, 2013

A real estate tour of the Inland Empire five years after Lehman Brothers


Lauren Osen/KPCC

A Martinez and real estate agent Myra Elder survey a home in San Bernardino.


Lauren Osen/KPCC

A foreclosed home in San Bernardino that has been vandalized.


Lauren Osen/KPCC

A Martinez surveys a foreclosed home in San Bernardino that has been vandalized.


Steven Cuevas / KPCC

One of many vacant, distressed properties in downtown San Bernardino. This lot sits right next door to the Greater San Bernardino Area Chamber of Commerce. It’s slogan; “It’s Great Day in San Bernardino” defies the city’s hard times.

It's been almost five years since the Lehman Brothers investment bank went bankrupt, sending the country into an economic tailspin. The nation’s housing collapse hit Southern California particularly hard, especially neighborhoods in the Inland Empire. 

To take the pulse of the housing market in San Bernardino, A Martinez took a drive with real estate agent Myra Elder, who has worked in the area for 41 years.

She's also lived there her whole life and as you'll hear, she takes a lot of pride in her community. Elder wanted to stress that there are bright spots. For instance, a neighborhood on the east loosely known as the "country club area," consisting of homes with pools and perfectly manicured lawns next a golf course.

"We have many, many neighborhoods like this," said Elder. "We get a bad wrap because of the high crime and I'm not denying that exists, but it is getting better."

However, a drive south takes you through a vacant-feeling downtown. Other neighborhoods are slowly recovering, and now have just a few foreclosed homes. Since May, assessed property values in San Bernardino County have jumped 68 percent, according the county accessors' office. Foreclosures have decreased by 46 percent from 2010 to 2012.

But even Elder admits, that while things are bouncing back in San Bernardino, it is still struggling. 

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