The McMansion as Dorm

In Merced, California, students fill in the large homes chockablock with amenities and left vacant by a high foreclosure rate. Rents often go for under $300 a month.

"This city of 79,000 is ranked third nationally in metropolitan-area home foreclosures, behind Las Vegas and Vallejo, Calif., said Daren Blomquist, a spokesman for RealtyTrac, a company based in Irvine, Calif., that tracks housing sales. The speculative fever that gripped the region and drew waves of outside investors to this predominantly agricultural area was fueled in part by the promise of the university itself, which opened in 2005 as the first new University of California campus in 40 years.

The crash crashed harder here. 'Builders were coming into the area by the bulkload,' said Loren M. Gonella, who owns a real estate company here. 'It was, ‘Holy moly, let's get on this gravy train.'"

Thanks to Michael Snidal

Full Story: Animal McMansion: Students Trade Dorm for Suburban Luxury

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