'Drive 'til You Qualify' Foreclosures on the Rise
You can commute to New York City from the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, according to developers who promoted exurban living back in the early days of the housing bubble. But by 2005, foreclosures in the Poconos region rose above 500; by 2009 the number of foreclosures had quadrupled to 2000. Analysts say one cause is the cost of the extreme commute.
Scott Bernstein with The Center for Neighborhood Technology noted the pattern in the Chicago area and mapped it: the farther out from the city center, the higher the foreclosure rate. Scott told WNYC reporter Andrea Bernstein 2008 was the tipping point, as gas hit $4.30 a gallon: "The cost of housing was apparently low enough to attract people, but the cost of transportation is so high that you couldn't afford to live there anymore."
HUD knows its an issue, and is trying to promote new housing in locations with shorter commutes.