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Reducing Foreclosures through neighborhood design

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Reducing Foreclosures through neighborhood design

Old 03-13-10, 10:14 AM
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Reducing Foreclosures through neighborhood design

This is an interesting article on how a new study reveals a direct link between high foreclosure rates with increasing transportation costs.

>>>The study shows that factors
such as neighborhood compactness, access to public transit, and rates of
vehicle ownership are key to predicting mortgage performance and should be taken more seriously by mortgage underwriters, policymakers, and real estate developers.<<<<<

On page 3 of the PDF illustrates monthly transportation costs 10 years ago and how people a large amount of the population in Chicago were spending $730.00 dollars or less a month on transportation. Today, the majority of those living in the same community are spending over $930.00 dollars a month on transportation! Holy Cow! That’s more money than I pay in rent! LOL!

I thought my monthly transit costs were high ($200.00) but spending close to 1K for transportation is insane! If you are spending one thousand dollars a month on a car while holding down a 30 year mortgage, you better be making fantastic money or you’ll end up broke! A job loss or long term illness and you‘re toast! (Heck, I’m trying to hoard bus tickets with the pending raise in fares next month just to save money. LOL!) I could never in my dreams spend that much cash just to drive to work. I suspect all those who were using public transit 10 years ago in the Chicago metro went ahead and purchased new cars with the easy availability of credit. This no doubt contributed to the record number of bankruptcies and foreclosures state wide.

The article makes the assumption that underwriters of future mortgages should take into account transportation costs when writing new policies. The problem with this idea is that millions of prospective home owners would not be able to qualify for a mortgage if they had to come up with an additional 17% more income on their applications. Over the years, I heard many stories of people selling their vehicles to friends for ten dollars to qualify for a mortgage and then buy them back once the process is over. .

This study doesn’t say it outright but I will. The real factor in predicting mortgage foreclosure is whether or not you are car free. Having access to public transportation and using bicycles are fine but the real savings comes from not having an expensive vehicle to being with.


https://www.nrdc.org/energy/files/Loc...ciency4pgr.pdf
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Old 03-13-10, 06:36 PM
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Seems like it could also be that people who have bought more recently also had to buy farther from downtown and got suckered in on low initial rates only to discover that the when the adjustable rates adjusted up, that the costs now exceeded their income.
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Old 03-13-10, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
Seems like it could also be that people who have bought more recently also had to buy farther from downtown and got suckered in on low initial rates only to discover that the when the adjustable rates adjusted up, that the costs now exceeded their income.
There's no question those no down payment adjustable rates mortgages sent many a homeowner to the cleaners. It just shocked me how much people are spending on transportation.

I'm still trying to locate the study and I'll post it if i can find the link.
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Old 03-13-10, 10:39 PM
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The article's second recommendation is interesting

2. Mortgage underwriting practices should be
changed to provide access to proportionally
better borrowing terms for purchasers of
location-efficient homes. This would more
closely reflect the actual affordability of different
types of neighborhoods, and in turn drive the
real estate market to more accurately match
supply to demand.
If such a bias were introduced to mortgage decisions, suddenly a growth spurt in more dense urban development would occur. You would automatically seek to buy in an area where you could have multi-story housing and commercial units under one roof. In more suburban areas, close to the dense city core, you would probably see a spurt in basement apartments and people turning their garages into apartments.

In the same way that credit score currently biases many lifestyles decisions....
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Old 03-14-10, 12:29 AM
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If jobs don’t come back why would people move back? Look at down town Detroit and see what is happening. Then think about what it would take to reverse the trend of moving out of down town.
Not a practical solution on the west coast where we moved most jobs to industrial parks outside of the main downtown area.

And as a city becomes more dense the resources to support the city spread out to require more transportation costs for food and hard goods. An example is San Francisco. It takes an area about half of the State of California just to support the city.
https://www.scribd.com/doc/21066529/Unsustainable-City-Density-Transportation-and-San-Francisco-s-Sustainability
The irony about San Francisco is some people think of San Francisco as a green city.
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Old 03-14-10, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
If jobs don’t come back why would people move back? Look at down town Detroit and see what is happening. Then think about what it would take to reverse the trend of moving out of down town.
Didn't someone post how Detroit is looking to bring back lightrail in the downtown district? Was it me? I don't remember. LOL

Regardless, watch what happens 10 years from now when that LightRail is completed because I expect to see new investment create jobs for those living in the community.

I understand there are going to be people who would prefer bankruptcy and homelessness than becoming carfree. You cannot change them. I posted this study to illustrate how automobile ownership was probably the biggest contributing factor in the record number of bankruptcies in the nation. When people who lost their jobs could not afford to pay the mortgage and their 1k a month transportation costs, the end result was foreclosure. They might have been able to hold off the sheriff had they sold their 1K monthly auto obligation. Yet, when the option came to either selling the house or the car, the car stayed.
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Old 03-14-10, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
Seems like it could also be that people who have bought more recently also had to buy farther from downtown and got suckered in on low initial rates only to discover that the when the adjustable rates adjusted up, that the costs now exceeded their income.
I can remember the balloon mortgage deal in L.A. in the 1980s when I was first married. People said, "It's the only way to buy a home in L.A.! Get in now, because the prices are only going up, up, up!" Man am I glad I didn't buy, and I'm glad every mortgage I've ever had was fixed rate. Balloon mortgages are for speculators and risk-takers. If you want the stability of owning a home, stay away from balloon mortgages/ARMs.
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Old 03-14-10, 07:29 PM
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^ If anyone still lives in Detroit in 10 years.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/na...-86943277.html
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Old 03-14-10, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
Didn't someone post how Detroit is looking to bring back lightrail in the downtown district? Was it me? I don't remember. LOL

Regardless, watch what happens 10 years from now when that LightRail is completed because I expect to see new investment create jobs for those living in the community.

I understand there are going to be people who would prefer bankruptcy and homelessness than becoming carfree. You cannot change them. I posted this study to illustrate how automobile ownership was probably the biggest contributing factor in the record number of bankruptcies in the nation. When people who lost their jobs could not afford to pay the mortgage and their 1k a month transportation costs, the end result was foreclosure. They might have been able to hold off the sheriff had they sold their 1K monthly auto obligation. Yet, when the option came to either selling the house or the car, the car stayed.
Are you saying there is a reason for people to move back to downtown Detroit? What might that reason be? Where would the light rail take them to? The jobs left and there are no new jobs coming in that area to replace them. And are you saying people that lost their job could afford $1500.00 to $2500.00 house payments but their car expenses pushed them over the edge? Doesn’t that fly in the face of what the experts told us was the reason for the housing crunch? It seems like you are saying it was the car and not mass consumption and taking out loans well above their budget caused the problem. As if people making 30k a year could afford $500,000 dollar homes but not a $20,000.00 car? That if they had a bicycle and a house payment on a $500,000.00 home they would have held off the foreclosure? I find that hard to believe. Someone without a job would have their house foreclosed on even if they lived right next door to the Job they lost. Plus without a car they are limited to the area they live in to produce any job they could take or interview for.
There will always be those who don’t want to live stacked in like pigeons in a coupe. They will be the ones that will have to work outside of the big cities to support them like the article I posted indicates. Downtown Detroit will not turn around because of any additional light rail because the reason for the light rail in the first place is gone.
The dream of some is high density housing to many of us it is a nightmare much like a prison camp. That is why we have different people because we have different needs and wants.
Just like they couldn’t get the Japanese Americans to believe that Manzanar was a good idea and for their own protection or the American Indian to accept that a reservation was a better way of life you will have a hard time convincing some of us that having someone living only one wall , ceiling or floor away from them is a good idea.

In theory it sounds good but people are not rabbits, or hardware that likes to be stacked in a box and placed next to another box. Not if there is no advantage in livelihood for being in the box in the first place. And no I would not rather starve than not drive a car but I would rather not vote to build my own reservation either.

I know some like living with the mass of humanity pushing in on them every day. More power to them but I and many like me are not that kind. To me the ideal living is a quiet neighborhood where my neighbors wall is no closer than 30 feet ever.

We just disagree on what a reasonable living space is. As does the experts you seem to post verses the ones I posted.

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Old 03-14-10, 10:22 PM
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Banks Want It Both Ways

When I lived in the suburbs of New Orleans my street was a U that connected to the main highway. There was a discussion here of how the suburbs would fail because they weren't dense enough to support mass transit.

My neighborhood had single family houses of 1400-2300 square feet. Each one was about thirty feet away from the street and sixteen feet apart side by side. The street was probably the standard width (whatever that is, maybe 24 feet wide). I imagined that we all would agree to stop using cars and fill in the street with new houses or apartment buildings. They could be wider than the street because part of our front yards was a city sidewalk that was about five feet away from the street. That would mean that many houses could fill in the wasteful space of the streets.

If this scenario were possible how many people would feel it was a good idea? There still could be personal houses separate from other peoples houses, but; they would be in much denser neighborhoods. Instead of one-hundred houses in that neighborhood there would be one-hundred-fifty houses. Would that even be enough people per square mile to make public transit pay for itself? Would bankers even take that into consideration? Would bankers not want to give loans for such properties because they didn't have driveways or even a parking lot for the neighborhood? I wonder.

I have read the reports that prove that housing nearest good public transportation is more valuable than housing far from public transportation. What will come first in this world, better public transportation or more dense housing? I don't see any agreement in this in the eyes of the general public. It isn't even in their consciousness. It is possible that banks could be leaders in this transportation revolution if they took the report about transportation costs into consideration for all of their home loans and actually promoted lower rates to people who didn't own cars. On the other hand, banks make plenty of money on car loans.
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Old 03-14-10, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
Didn't someone post how Detroit is looking to bring back lightrail in the downtown district? Was it me? I don't remember. LOL

Regardless, watch what happens 10 years from now when that LightRail is completed because I expect to see new investment create jobs for those living in the community.

I understand there are going to be people who would prefer bankruptcy and homelessness than becoming carfree. You cannot change them. I posted this study to illustrate how automobile ownership was probably the biggest contributing factor in the record number of bankruptcies in the nation. When people who lost their jobs could not afford to pay the mortgage and their 1k a month transportation costs, the end result was foreclosure. They might have been able to hold off the sheriff had they sold their 1K monthly auto obligation. Yet, when the option came to either selling the house or the car, the car stayed.


Last year my landlord was forelosed on for several properties, leaving me and other tenants homeless. This business man "couldn't afford" his mortgage payments, but he owned, and still owns:
  • a new Cadillac
  • an older model SUV
  • a new VW beetle
  • a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle
  • a 26 foot sailboat that he uses once or twice a year
What kind of values does this reflect?
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Old 03-15-10, 12:03 AM
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It is far more likely that banks will take the money, pay monster bonuses and buy smaller banks like they did with the tax money they already got from us for loaning money to people that couldn’t afford the homes they bought no matter where they lived.
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Old 03-18-10, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post
I have read the reports that prove that housing nearest good public transportation is more valuable than housing far from public transportation. What will come first in this world, better public transportation or more dense housing? I don't see any agreement in this in the eyes of the general public. It isn't even in their consciousness. It is possible that banks could be leaders in this transportation revolution if they took the report about transportation costs into consideration for all of their home loans and actually promoted lower rates to people who didn't own cars. On the other hand, banks make plenty of money on car loans.
In my neighborhood, those living within two block of the light rail saw their properties appreciate 30% in four years. Only rail has this kind of positive influence on the value of property and not a bus stop. Our lightrail attracted over 2 billion in capital investment from all over the nation. We have three lightrail trains throughout New Jersey and each one attracted jobs, luxury housing and business to dead communities.

When you're buying a home, the banks determine how much you can borrow based on the debt you've accumlated and that includes auto ownership. So those who are car free will be able to take our larger loans based on their low debt. There was another study not long ago that stated most homeowners could have held off bankruptcy if they just had an additional one thousand dollars (I'm certain it was less!) in income per month. That's what people are paying for motor transport!
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Old 03-18-10, 01:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
In my neighborhood, those living within two block of the light rail saw their properties appreciate 30% in four years. Only rail has this kind of positive influence on the value of property and not a bus stop. Our lightrail attracted over 2 billion in capital investment from all over the nation. We have three lightrail trains throughout New Jersey and each one attracted jobs, luxury housing and business to dead communities.

When you're buying a home, the banks determine how much you can borrow based on the debt you've accumlated and that includes auto ownership. So those who are car free will be able to take our larger loans based on their low debt. There was another study not long ago that stated most homeowners could have held off bankruptcy if they just had an additional one thousand dollars (I'm certain it was less!) in income per month. That's what people are paying for motor transport!
I wasn’t going to respond and thought I would let this pass but I just have to ask. If we are talking about people who have lost their jobs how would they get the money to stay in the houses they couldn’t afford? Every study I have seen on this collapse says the housing crash and the banking problems were caused because they made loans to people who didn’t have the income to afford the houses in the first place. So if they couldn’t afford the house in the first place and then they lost their job what possible difference could a $1000.00 make? They were in trouble from the day they started looking at houses.

Like anything else if people would only have bought cars and houses they could afford then we wouldn’t be in the economic problem we are in now. And maybe if we would have supported American manufacturing we would still have good paying jobs in the US so people could make an additional $1000.00 a month. But then that didn’t happen either.
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Old 03-18-10, 01:35 PM
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Lies Caused The Problems. Lies From Long Ago And Lies In The Present.

Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post

So if they couldn’t afford the house in the first place and then they lost their job what possible difference could a $1000.00 make? They were in trouble from the day they started looking at houses.


Like anything else if people would only have bought cars and houses they could afford then we wouldn’t be in the economic problem we are in now. And maybe if we would have supported American manufacturing we would still have good paying jobs in the US so people could make an additional $1000.00 a month. .
Many lenders were mortgage brokers who lied to their clients and the banks where they sold the loans. People were promised that in three to five years they would be able to refinance the loans at a fixed rate IF rates went up. Those were lies in many cases.

You're right about people loosing a job not being able to afford their houses with an extra $1000, although some mortgages at conventional rates are only about $1200 per month. Had people been allowed to refinance as originally promised, that extra $1000 per month plus a part time job could have kept people in their expensive homes.

The North American Free Trade Agreement and Congress' refusal to put tariffs on imported goods from "Most Favored Nations" are the sources of the demise of the American manufacturing infrastructure.

The USA could survive on tariffs alone without any income taxes. Doing such would just reconfigure where the money came from because the higher priced goods would still take money out of our pockets, but; it would spur the creation of manufacturing within our borders and more jobs. It would take a decade for such a turnaround to occur. Few in congress are brave enough to enact such legislation.
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Old 03-18-10, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
I wasn’t going to respond and thought I would let this pass but I just have to ask. If we are talking about people who have lost their jobs how would they get the money to stay in the houses they couldn’t afford? Every study I have seen on this collapse says the housing crash and the banking problems were caused because they made loans to people who didn’t have the income to afford the houses in the first place. So if they couldn’t afford the house in the first place and then they lost their job what possible difference could a $1000.00 make? They were in trouble from the day they started looking at houses.

Like anything else if people would only have bought cars and houses they could afford then we wouldn’t be in the economic problem we are in now. And maybe if we would have supported American manufacturing we would still have good paying jobs in the US so people could make an additional $1000.00 a month. But then that didn’t happen either.
Bear in mind that job loss was only one cause of recent foreclosures, and possibly not the major cause. The speculative bubble--a widespread delusion that real estate was worth much more each year--was also a big cause of foreclosures, especially early in the financial crisis.

Many people walked away from their mortgages when they realized that their house was worth far less than they owed on it ("underwater" or "upside-down mortgage"). Other people faced balloon payments that would have been worth paying if the property value had continued to escalate as they originally planned. Others planned to sell the house at a profit when the balloon payment kicked in, but couldn't do that after the bubble burst.
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Old 03-18-10, 09:22 PM
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Roody and Smallwheels,

Both of you are correct as far as it goes. But lies or not people need to take responsibility for getting a home they should have known they couldn’t afford. When I first got married the formula was never buy a home if the payments took more than ¼ of your income. It got pushed to 1/3 and I thought that was stupid. But people were buying in at ½ to ¾ of their monthly income and even if they were lied to they had to know deep down that it simply was a gamble. And when they lost they would take the hit. But programs like flip this house and such made everyone think the balloon would never explode.
The assertion that a car payment is what caused the housing downfall simply doesn’t hold water. People could easily have dumped their car to the repo man if all it took was a car payment to save the house. But once the job losses started it was all downhill and only those that denied themselves all the toys seemed to know how to survive. If a person had a car that was paid for and a home well within their income bracket and didn’t try to get rich quick then they wouldn’t have been extended so far with credit card debt that they were losing their houses. There may have been a small fraction that the car pushed them over but the car and the house were only an example of the rest of their bad habits. If you look at why so many people get scammed by checking with the police departments you will find that most often it is because there is just a touch of larceny in their hearts and they are trying to get something for nothing.
I have had people working for me making half of what I made and they had bigger houses, bigger cars, and bigger boats than I would ever dream of. My wife and I often wondered what we were doing wrong to not get in on the gravy train. Then the bottom fell out and we knew what they had done. I can’t say they didn’t know what they were getting into all I can say is they had to believe they would never get caught with their pants down. To this day I save for what I want and I don’t use a credit card. It wasn’t always that way but once you get out from the rat race it is better to never get back in.
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Old 03-18-10, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
And as a city becomes more dense the resources to support the city spread out to require more transportation costs for food and hard goods. An example is San Francisco. It takes an area about half of the State of California just to support the city.
It's hard to "reply with quote" with all your fonts!

You got it backwards. The point of the article was that density is better. San Francisco did not perform nearly as well as even denser cities like Hong Kong, or New York according to the authors, but it did much better than Houston, Phoenix and Denver, which are more spread out. The problem according to the report is not that San Francisco is too dense, but that its not doing enough to encourage even more density, and instead people are spreading out to the other Bay Area communities which are too suburbanized.

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Old 03-18-10, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
It's hard to "reply with quote" with all your fonts!

You got it backwards. The point of the article was that density is better. San Francisco did not perform nearly as well as even denser cities like Hong Kong, or New York according to the authors, but it did much better than Houston, Phoenix and Denver, which are more spread out. The problem according to the report is not that San Francisco is too dense, but that its not doing enough to encourage even more density, and instead people are spreading out to the other Bay Area communities which are too suburbanized.
My point was about how much non city dwelling it takes to support a city like San Francisco. It took half of the state to supply the needs of the city itself. Even for a pro density article it is hard to escape the idea that big cities are not self supporting. So besides being heat generators they are also resource hogs in that the outlying areas needed to support them get bigger the denser the city gets. When hard economic times hit the rural areas can at least feed themselves but the cities are it total dependence to the outlaying areas. There are several good articles on the net to how much land it takes outside of a big city to provide the soft and hard goods the city dwellers need and can’t produce themselves.
In my state it is a double whammy In that industrial parks moved outside of the high density areas as well. Construction costs are lower in areas when you can build from scratch without having to rip down existing old buildings in the first place.
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Old 03-19-10, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
My point was about how much non city dwelling it takes to support a city like San Francisco. It took half of the state to supply the needs of the city itself. Even for a pro density article it is hard to escape the idea that big cities are not self supporting. So besides being heat generators they are also resource hogs in that the outlying areas needed to support them get bigger the denser the city gets. When hard economic times hit the rural areas can at least feed themselves but the cities are it total dependence to the outlaying areas. There are several good articles on the net to how much land it takes outside of a big city to provide the soft and hard goods the city dwellers need and can’t produce themselves.
In my state it is a double whammy In that industrial parks moved outside of the high density areas as well. Construction costs are lower in areas when you can build from scratch without having to rip down existing old buildings in the first place.
You're still missing the point. If those dense cities were replaced with suburban sprawl they would have an even bigger environmental footprint. A thousand people who live in a highrise and commute 5 miles to work by subway, and depend on distant farmers to feed them, are using less resources than if they spread out into 300 ranch bungalows and drove 15 miles to work, on lots and highways that could have been farmland.

That's why the authors rated Hong Kong as much more environmentally friendly than San Francisco.

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Old 03-19-10, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Bear in mind that job loss was only one cause of recent foreclosures, and possibly not the major cause. The speculative bubble--a widespread delusion that real estate was worth much more each year--was also a big cause of foreclosures, especially early in the financial crisis.
I saw that where I lived near Palm Springs. I watched houses on my block sell for $30,000 and five years later sell again for $300,000.
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Old 03-19-10, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
I saw that where I lived near Palm Springs. I watched houses on my block sell for $30,000 and five years later sell again for $300,000.
And today? Probably $80,000.

(Which is probably about what they're really worth, and they won't go back to 300k for many decades...if they ever do.)
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Old 03-19-10, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
You're still missing the point. If those dense cities were replaced with suburban sprawl they would have an even bigger environmental footprint. A thousand people who live in a highrise and commute 5 miles to work by subway, and depend on distant farmers to feed them, are using less resources than if they spread out into 300 ranch bungalows and drove 15 miles to work, on lots and highways that could have been farmland.

That's why the authors rated Hong Kong as much more environmentally friendly than San Francisco.
It is effencient for tools, and books or pieces of lumber but people need food and come in differnt flavors and need more space to feel comfortable. Also the big cities also have more crime and decay and need more non city support. Doesn't matter why the support comes from outside of the city only that it does. Townships and yes even Suburbs can be closer to green belts and food supplies. Like I have said before things might be different in the east but Central Detroit does show the problems of the big city defense. When the job center is gone the people leave, effecient or not. LA is learning that very lesson today. Still none of the supposed effeciency has helped solve the higher crime rates or number of homes that are forclosed on. If the jobs are gone owning or not owning a car isn't going to save you. Many here talk about global warming and how humans may influence it but never consider the effect of dense housing in big cities on it. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/1...udy-an-update/

Some things look good on paper but have so many other problems they don't look as good in reality.
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Old 03-20-10, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
but people need food and come in differnt flavors and need more space to feel comfortable.
"Need" more space? Want, maybe, and hey, you can't always get...well, you know the rest.

People can live however they want, provided they can afford to and aren't hurting or off-loading their costs onto others. However, if you rate their environmental footprint it's based on data, not preference. I get a sense that some country folk have a bit of a conscious or unconscious notion that city people are parasites, living off their efforts, but in fact there are way more people in the world than perhaps there should be and the vast majority are not farmers, including most of the people who live in exurban areas. They're business people, artists, welfare and disability recipients, trust fund beneficiaries, civil servants, health care providers, labourers and so on, just like urbanites. Rural people also need farmers fo feed them, and a guy who rides his lawn tractor around a one acre estate is not somehow more virtuous and deserving of a meal than someone who lives in the middle unit of an urban rowhouse. In fact the authours of the report you cited, prefer the second guy.

Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
Many here talk about global warming and how humans may influence it but never consider the effect of dense housing in big cities on it. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/1...udy-an-update/
Regarding the urban "heat island" effect and its possible role in global warming. It's true that if you cluster a whole bunch of people and development together in one spot, they produce a local hot spot. However, if you spread all those people out over a broader area, they produce even more heat, due to more external surface area on buildings, and more driving.

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Old 03-20-10, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
The article's second recommendation is interesting

If such a bias were introduced to mortgage decisions, suddenly a growth spurt in more dense urban development would occur. You would automatically seek to buy in an area where you could have multi-story housing and commercial units under one roof. In more suburban areas, close to the dense city core, you would probably see a spurt in basement apartments and people turning their garages into apartments.
I don't read it quite that way, more the idea that living in a McMansion in the burbs the underwriters need to take into account the real transportation costs as a factor for income loading. If they do not they lose an important factor that might cause more strain on budgets then the raw numbers would indicate.
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