Nevada the New Poster Child for US Economy

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LAS VEGAS -- Nevada is a beautiful state, but the ugliness brought by the country's housing crisis has turned some neighborhoods into virtual ghost towns.

"Just within the neighborhood that I live in within two streets, we have 10 homes sitting in foreclosure and these homes are only 3 years old, so I just think the whole thing is disgusting," Kim Nickell, a North Las Vegas resident told CBN News.

Nevada's housing market is in shambles. The state has sent foreclosure filings to one out of every 118 homes, and roughly 65 percent of homeowners owe more on their property than what it's worth.

"We are stuck with a mortgage that's just hanging around our necks like a millstone. It's ridiculous," said Steve Hendricks, a North Las Vegas resident.

Abandoned homes and foreclosed signs are not uncommon in Nevada. But it's especially bad in zip code 89031, which is the top zip code for foreclosed homes in America.

It's located just about 20 minute from the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas. Down the street, Veronica Robles has seen neighbor after neighbor vanish.

"I see a lot of people gone. These peoples' house -- they were gone one month or two ago, and I think the other neighbor has been gone one or two weeks," Robles said.

Nevada, whose nickname ironically is the 'Silver State,' is the poster child for the bad economy.

"We lead the country in every bad economic indicator," said David Damore, a political science professor at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

The housing crisis is part of a feeling that's downright depressing. Unemployment in Las Vegas is the highest in the country, most of it construction related. More than 100,000 workers can't find a job.

"There's largely sort of a numbness in the sense that we're bumping along. Nothing's getting any better here, and I don't think people here see it getting any better, anytime soon," Damore explained.

President Obama recently signed an executive order that will allow struggling homeowners to refinance their mortgages at very low rates. But critics say its small potatoes.

Solutions offered by the Republican presidential candidates have focused on getting government out of the way and letting the free market work.

"Don't try and stop the foreclosure process," Mitt Romney said. "Let it run its course and hit the bottom. Allow investors to buy homes. Put renters in them. Fix the homes up and let it turn around and come back up."

While politicians try and figure out the next step, suffering Nevada homeowners wait for the next shoe to drop.

"The bottom line is a lot of people are going to be losing their homes and there's going to be an uprising in this country sooner or later over it," John Cruso, a North Las Vegas resident predicted. "It's just a matter of time."

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CBN News
David Brody

David Brody

CBN News Chief Political Correspondent

David Brody is an Emmy Award-winning veteran news journalist who has interviewed many prominent national figures during his career of nearly 25 years. Currently, David covers the White House and interviews national newsmakers across the country.  Follow David on Twitter @TheBrodyFile and "like" him at