HESPERIA When Steve and Sharon Boyd bought their home in the new Hidden Canyon subdivision, they were excited.


"You could say it was the very first home I ever lived in," said Sharon Boyd, a child of ministers who was forever moving from site to site, wherever her parents' spiritual calling took the family. The house was also important for her husband, who grew up in the nomadic life of a military brat. "It was a place to say, 'We've been married 11 years and now we have a place to call home.'"


It was only a few months after the Boyds moved into their home on Creosote Avenue in late 2009 that the construction sounds from a few blocks over came to a halt for good.


"If you go to the opposite side of the loop, you can see a bunch of foundations that were poured," Sharon Boyd said. "The builders left everything as-is."


Today there are whole blocks of concrete foundations sprouting rebar and the stubs of PVC pipes like weeds. Local kids skateboard there by day and have been known to party there by night.


And Hidden Canyon isn't alone: It's surrounded by other communities where construction stopped dead when the market for new homes dried up, seemingly overnight.


The homes in the subdivisions that sprung up in the early years of the 21st century were the embodiment of the American dream to Angelenos who were unable to find affordable homes in Los Angeles and came up the Cajon Pass looking for commuter-friendly suburbs. And for a while, the demand for new homes seemed insatiable, with developers continuing to build up until the very moment that it all came crashing down.


"Hesperia has, of course, seen building cycles, peaks and valleys since incorporation," city spokeswoman Kelly Malloy said, "but this is the worst that we've seen."


In fall 2006, there were some 827 homes for sale in Hesperia at an average asking price of $337,714, according to figures compiled by Larry Trombley of Century 21 Rose Realty. The most recent figures from Trombley list 217 homes on Hesperia's market, going for an average of $108,059.


The resulting foreclosures were especially common in the subdivisions, prompting city officials to create a new program that would require the owners of foreclosed properties to maintain their properties or face daily fines.


"We're going to go after the banks on that, I can guarantee that," Mayor Russ Blewett said. "We're going to make them clean them up and take care of their properties."


Hesperia has designated the quarter of the city north of Main Street and west of the BNSF railway tracks as the area of town set aside for subdivisions, with single-family homes able to be built on as little as 4,500 square foot lots.


During the height of the building boom, that quarter of town dubbed "Beat 3" by the Hesperia station of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department was the busiest for calls for police service. But as residents lost their houses and others simply walked away from homes they could no longer afford, demand for policing dropped there, according to Sgt. Ken Lutz. Beat 3 now trails the region south of Main Street in demand for policing.


In the nearby Mission Crest subdivision, west of Escondido Avenue, tiles still sit on the roofs of houses with plywood for doors and windows, waiting for a roofer who still shows no signs of coming almost three years after they left the site.


When Edgar Quinteros bought his house there in 2009, it had already been foreclosed on, although construction was still continuing on a few more houses on his block.


"When I bought my house, pretty much everything was a foreclosure on my street," he said. "There were maybe two occupied on my street."


Now, those foreclosures have been snatched up by new owners or are occupied by renters, with Trombley reporting that bank-owned properties dropped from a high of 60 percent of Victor Valley inventory in February 2009 to 29 percent this month.


However, though Quinteros' road remains uneven and bumpy and the lot behind his house is half-built, Mission Crest has been good to this first-time homeowner.


"It's a good community," he said, "other than the minor repairs that need to be done."


The city is hopeful that the economy will turn around and a private company will invest in the abandoned housing projects to get them moving forward again, Malloy said.


"Some of these guys, they're stuck here," Steve Boyd said. Like many of their neighbors, they now owe tens of thousands of dollars more on their mortgage than their home is worth. "Luckily, Sharon and I grew fond of Hesperia, so we're stuck here but we're OK with it."


Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at beau@HesperiaStar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.