Abandoned neighborhoods pose problems for residents left behind

The hammering stopped around the second week in September, less than a month after she moved into her new three-bedroom town home in northern Tarrant County.

At the time, she thought that it was just a pause, a temporary halt to construction. But it soon became obvious that the builder had stopped working.

Now the homeowner — who asked that her name not be used because of safety concerns — is living amid blocks of half-built town homes, with drywall exposed to the elements and pieces of trim missing. People have dumped a dresser, a basketball hoop and an abandoned car in her neighborhood in the last few months, and she fears that vagrants will move in next.

The builder, Portrait Homes, says it has stopped building while it waits for the market to return.

"There is no way I can get out of this what I paid for it," the homeowner said.

It’s a scene being played out all over the area: As builders find it harder and harder to cover the overhead expenses of building a subdivision, with model homes and a sales staff, many are exiting neighborhoods altogether, leaving the unfortunate early buyers to live amid the unfinished mess of empty lots and half-finished homes.

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