Inland Empire is showing early stirrings of recovery

Riverside and San Bernardino counties were hit hard by the economic downturn, but there are signs of a turnaround. Investors, both foreign and domestic, are jumping back in; developers are snapping up land; and home buyers are being attracted by low prices.

By Alana Semuels, Los Angeles Times

October 22, 2011, 5:43 p.m.

Jim Lytle gunned his silver BMW past the boarded-up model homes and the faded red flags of an abandoned sales office, then steered into a grid of empty streets and yellowed grass.

Millions of dollars were spent to turn farmland into housing tracts. Lots were graded, roads were paved, sewers installed. The houses? They will come, Lytle promises, right here on these acres and acres of weed-strewn fields.

"This is a broken subdivision, which is obvious by looking at the ground," said Lytle, whose real estate investment firm has been snapping up land in Winchester and throughout Riverside County. "But I still believe the American dream is alive and well in homeownership."

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