The Boom Towns do not look or even necessarily feel like tattered, struggling communities. Many of them still bear the hallmarks of a wealthy largely suburban lifestyle with upscale chain restaurants or boutique shops. But mixed in with those upper-tier lifestyle markers are empty storefronts, some of which may have been built and never filled. A few examples: Riverside, CA Eagle, CO
When the U.S. economy was roaring through the first half of the last decade some places roared along more quickly than others. Those places were Boom Town counties. The construction crews rolled into town, the homes went up and sprawl went out in many of these exurban places. Young families moved to the Boom Towns looking for a little space for a little less money with freshly-painted shopping center nearby. They were the next up-and-coming neighborhoods. Schools were built for growing populations of children. Hispanic workers often arrived to take construction jobs.
Then the real estate music stopped and a lot of these counties were left wondering what to do.
The local economies built on housing construction fell hard. Suddenly there was less money to go round to all the local businesses – from department stores to restaurants. In many Boom Town counties the story of the last few years has been one of plummeting home values and people behind in their mortgage payments, stuck in houses they cannot sell. The hardest hit Boom Towns can feel like places left behind, with streets full of newly constructed homes sitting (and sitting and sitting) for sale. Others are simply communities in transition attracting different kinds of residents than they originally did when home values were higher.