Housing downturn is a jolt to upscale Temecula

Written by jordan on . Posted in Blog

From LA times, staff writer Scott Gold

For almost 20 years, they’ve been painting the town red in Temecula.

Atop onion fields and grazing pastures, they’ve built a parade of 4,000- and 5,000-square-foot houses — palaces, many of them, with turrets and faux backyard grottoes, with six-car garages and children’s playrooms larger than the average Manhattan apartment.

Today, they’re painting the dirt green.

“Here’s one now,” code enforcement officer Jean Voshall said as she pulled her hulking pickup up to the curb in a gated community called The Fairways.

At first glance, the house looked like so many others in Temecula: five bedrooms, mushroom-colored stucco walls, a seven iron away from a dapper golf course where two men prepared to tee off. A closer look at the lawn, however, revealed that it was dead and crunchy — and had been spray-painted green.

The paint came courtesy of neighbors, in the hope that it might be less evident to passersby that the house was empty — foreclosed and left to the elements, with no running water, no electricity and little chance of new occupants any time soon.

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