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Story idea: Vacant houses costing your community?
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Fixing up and even maintaining empty homes is costing everyone.
April 10, 2012 12:01 a.m.

American taxpayers own close to 200,000 vacant houses, and over the next year they will spend more than $40 million just to mow lawns at these properties.

The housing bailout has already cost taxpayers $124 million, now Americans are spending hundreds of millions more fixing up foreclosed homes to try and sell them. It is a bizarre and expensive side effect of the housing market collapse and failure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage giants that went into federal conservatorship in 2008.

To localize:

  • Talk to the city and find out how many homes are vacant in your area. Who is paying for their upkeep? What happens to the taxes owed on those homes?

  • What do local real estate agents say about your local housing market? Are things looking up or are more houses being shuttered?

  • Should the government be in the business of housing? Talk with local representatives and people on the street. Is it time to simply let some of these places go?


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