A Tale of Two Cities

Melinda Burns uses two California cities through which to investigate the reasons why the foreclosure crisis has impacted communities in dramatically different ways.
January 20, 2012, 7am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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A recent study has shown that local growth policies in place prior to the Housing bubble of the last decade had a marked impact on the the foreclosure rates in each city after the bubble burst.

"It's a pattern that was repeated throughout California, according to a recent study in Urban Affairs Review by Glasgow and co-authors Paul Lewis and Max Neiman, political scientists at Arizona State University and University of California, Riverside, respectively. The stronger the city council opposition to residential growth in the late 1990s, their data show, the lower the rate of foreclosures nearly a decade later."

Even after adjusting for other contributing factors, "the researchers find that "smart-growth" cities such as Davis and Santa Paula were at a definite advantage when the crisis hit. Typically, these cities placed limits on construction, put a premium on the quality of growth, and resisted the temptation to annex land outside their boundaries. They were finicky about the location, type, and design of new housing, and they likely attracted fewer risky buyers, or investors seeking to "flip" properties for quick resale."

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Published on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 in Miller-McCune
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