It didn't take long before the carnage in the hit house-party movie "Project X" spilled onto the real real estate market.
Thirteen teenagers are being questioned for their possible involvement in a wild house party that will cost the builder nearly $100,000 in repairs, reports KHOU in Houston, Texas.
"It's devastating. This is a new home that was ready to sell," said private investigator Mark Stephens, who was hired by the homebuilder to observe the property. Stephens estimates the home to be worth $500,000.
A tour of the once pristine, 4,000-square-foot-home today reveals gaping holes in the walls, heaps of broken glass and liquor bottles strewn across the property.
Stephens told KHOU that the night after the property was vandalized, he returned to the neighborhood in the hope of catching the culprits in the act. Just down the street, in another vacant home, he came upon a group of teenagers throwing another massive party.
Police took 13 teenagers into custody, with two minors being young enough to be released back to their parents.
Stephens said that when he asked the teens why they broke into the home, they simply said "Project X."
Yet this isn't the first time the riotous teen flick reportedly has inspired copycat revelry. Another party in Houston turned deadly after an unidentified teen was shot multiple times at an illegal party in another vacant home, ABC News reports. The party, which drew between 500 to 1,000 high school and college-age students, was shut down by police, but the gunman reportedly escaped on foot.
Idle Hands, Empty Homes
An underlying problem in these and other cases of home vandalism is the glut of vacant homes sitting idle on the market. As foreclosures have flooded local real estate inventories, vacant properties have attracted all manner of blight, lowering property values and putting more financial stress on already struggling neighborhoods.
And the vacancy problem could continue to rise. Despite a new report that shows a 13 percent drop in completed foreclosures in the first month of this year, as compared to January 2011, there are signs that foreclosures could soon rise. With the $25 billion mortgage settlement finally underway, experts expect foreclosure activity to increase through 2012, as banks begin to clear a massive backlog of disputed foreclosures. One in every 637 homes received a foreclosure filing in February, according to RealtyTrac.
In Houston, where both wild parties took place, one in every 689 homes received a foreclosure notice in February -- up nearly 10 percent from the previous month.