Bank Demolishing New Homes Instead of Selling Them

The company reportedly said destroying the properties was the cheapest option.

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The housing crash has hit Southern California so hard that one bank found it preferable to take the wrecking ball to 16 homes there rather than to attempt to sell them, The Wall Street Journal reports. The bank obtained the homes through foreclosure.

Guaranty Bank of Austin is wrecking the structures to provide a "safe environment" for neighbors of the abandoned housing tract in Victorville, a high-desert city about 85 miles northeast of Los Angeles, a bank spokesman said.

Victorville city officials said the bank told them the cost of finishing the development would exceed what they could sell the homes for.

The bank also faced escalating city fines as vandals and squatters took over the sprawling housing project, leaving behind graffiti and drug paraphernalia, city officials said.