Jackson's Neverland May Hit Auction Block

Singer could lose his ranch to foreclosure; one agent estimates value at $100M.

ByABC News
November 13, 2007, 6:23 PM

Nov. 14, 2007 — -- California residents just might see the following real estate listing very soon

Foreclosure Sale: Priced to Sell! Stunning 2,500-plus acre ranch surrounded by gorgeous vineyards in the lush rolling hills of Los Olivos, Calif. Property features a magnificent mansion as well as unique improvements including bumper cars and a primate center.

Of course, this estate also comes with loads of baggage, as it was once the primary residence of the King of Pop.

Michael Jackson is at risk of losing his Neverland Ranch if he does not pay at least $212,963 on his delinquent $23,212,963 loan. Jackson took out a $23 million loan in 2006 amid mounting debts.

The Mortgage Lender Implode-O-Meter, a foreclosure tracking Web site, discovered the property listed on a Notice of Default report for Santa Barbara County. Michael J. Jackson of Washington, D.C. is listed as the owner.

The singer took up residence at 5225 Figueroa Mountain Rd. in 1988 along with Bubbles the monkey and an assortment of llamas. He built a private amusement park and named the property Neverland Ranch, after the fictional home of the eternally boyish Peter Pan.

Jackson hasn't lived at the ranch for several years. After he was acquitted of all charges in his 2005 child molestation trial, Jackson left, saying "I won't live there again. It's a house now. It's not a home anymore."

In March 2006, after finally paying ranch employees hundreds of thousands of dollars in back wages, Jackson closed up the main house and laid off workers on the estate. A small number of animal caretakers were retained. Jackson reportedly now maintains homes in Bahrain and Washington.

With the news that Neverland Ranch may wind up in foreclosure, there's been no lack of speculation about what the future holds for the prestigious, yet tainted parcel of land in California's posh Santa Barbara County.

With the country in the midst of a mortgage crisis, foreclosures are growing nationwide. The numbers are harrowing: According to the Center for Responsible Lending, one in five subprime mortgages made between 2005 and 2006 are expected to end in foreclosure. Big Wall Street banks like Morgan Stanley, Citigroup Inc. and Merrill Lynch have suffered huge losses in bad mortgage investments. Just last week U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke stated that as many as 2.3 million subprime mortgages will reset at higher rates in the next year, indicating the flood of foreclosures may continue for months to come.

With home values depreciating under the strain of the downturn, many wonder whether Neverland Ranch will be able to retain its value. Could this epic property sell for pennies on the dollar in a foreclosure auction?