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LETTERS

Many are priced out -- and fed up

March 21, 2004

I live outside Chicago, where I moved from Southern California four years ago for financial reasons. On that count it was a good move, but being able to get back seems like a huge hurdle.

Reading "The Middle-Class Housing Squeeze" by Alison B. Cohen, March 7, confirmed what I've been thinking. I want to get back to Orange County, but to buy a home close to what we have now would probably cost us over $500,000. It is truly absurd.

I wonder how long this can last. I'm thinking that the only reason people can afford such ridiculous prices for homes is because interest rates are so low. This drives up demand for a product of limited supply -- especially in California -- and the prices skyrocket.

I've got to believe that as interest rates go up -- and they eventually will -- demand will slacken and prices will stop inflating and maybe even go down.

Mike D'Virgilio

Bolingbrook, Ill.

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I have been going mad wondering how everyone else was able to afford a home. We are like the couples in your article. We're living with in-laws while I go to school at Cal State Fullerton (the only way I could be a stay-home mom at 32 with two kids).

No one I know can afford a home, and we all make over $60,000 a year. We've had to start looking out of state. It's depressing. I didn't realize it until I read this that it was becoming the norm.

Shannon Sanchez

Fullerton

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We are under a very similar situation in New Zealand -- young urban professionals unable to afford to buy their first homes. Speculative trading in real estate, wealthy folks buying investment rental properties rather than risking it all on the under-performing stock market and low interest rates have conspired to make the situation worse.

Edwin Rogers

Auckland, New Zealand

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