Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Underwater" in exurbia

Here's a story about Mountain House, California, where 90% of the homes are worth less than what the owners owe on their mortgages. According to David Streitfeld's story, that is the highest percentage in the country. He reports that "the average homeowner in Mountain House is 'underwater,' as it is known, by $122,000."

Mountain House is about 5 miles from Tracy, population 56,929, a Central Valley boomtown that went from being a farming and ranching community to a Bay Area exurb in recent years. Wikipedia lists the population of Mountain House as about 7,500 and describes the place as an unincorporated planned community that was "envisioned as a sustainable new town that would provide housing and services with minimal impact on agricultural land and habitat for a region whose population was expected to triple in size between 1987 and 2025." Sadly for residents and businesses in the region, and thanks to sub-prime lending, Mountain House is not looking very sustainable right now.

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