Wednesday, 13 April 2011

"It's not a joke, it's a rope, Tuco. Now I want you to get up there and put your head in that noose."

Everytime I think of ghost towns I think of "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" (1966). A cult movie (IMO) I used to watch with my Dad when TV was Black and White.

Just like today, the bad guy wore a suit.  I can understand the bad guy with a suit but not quite getting my head around (after 40+ years) the good guy wearing a blanket (?).

I'm busy writing quite the tome on China, Japan and history (whilst working) so these are short and sweet posts but this caught my eye. It caught my eye as I've seen swathes of empty condos and apartments in the last 12 months on the North Shore, Gold Coast, Sunny Coast and North Queensland.

Its an article about empty American towns with populations >10,000. When I mean empty, half the homes are empty.

I find it hard to imagine a county with 50,000 or 100,000 people where half the dwellings are empty. Especially in beautiful Maryland (Washington DC straddles Maryland and Virginia) or North Carolina.

4. Worcester County, Md.
Number of homes: 55,749
Vacancy rate: 60%
Population: 49,274
The Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation recently estimated that the county would have a sharp drop in its tax base in fiscal year 2012 and "another, more drastic, revenue decrease" for the fiscal year that follows. The twin engines of county's economy are tourism and agriculture. Experts believe the tourism business in Maryland's Eastern Shore could stay crippled for years

6. Dare County, N.C.
Number of homes: 33,492
Vacancy rate: 57%
Population: 95,828
Dare County includes the northern-most parts of North Carolina's Outer Banks. The situation in the vacation area is so severe that the "Outer Banks Voice" recently wrote, "If Dare County Manager Bobby Outten was intending to sound an alarm by suggesting that the EMS helicopter and school nurses were expendable in the next budget, he probably succeeded." His comments are unlikely to be terribly different from those of other executives of counties on the list. Vacant homes and homes which lose double-digit amounts of their value each year irreparably undermine the tax base. And, as services fall, fewer potential homeowners will consider investing in the area.

View the article here: American Ghost towns of the 21st Century.

I don't for a minute expect those Aussie locations to become ghost towns but empty developments are just that...empty.  Particularly galling whilst the thieves in suits spruik a housing shortage lie.

 Remember...good guys wear blankets.


  1. An interesting link. Perhaps the most interesting part being the comments, over 2000. Many questioning the method of calculation used to determine vacancy levels (eg where regions were recognised vacation spots, full in high season, near empty otherwise). Others pleas of desperation for dying towns. I just wonder, whether as always, it would be helpful to have been provided the more detail as so many journalists are number illiterate!

  2. fwiw - have recently finished Robert Kaplan's Monsoon. A good read. Primarily interested in China's growing presence in the region (military and economic, the building of China's navy and the importance of the Indian Ocean region into the future. Covers issues I had never considered like the importance of sea lanes for shipping (particularly for a growing power). If you've not read it, you might be interested - in light of your present endeavor.

  3. I'll look into Kaplan's Monsoon. Thanks.