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Prices, taxes and homeownership

March 16, 2007

Re "Home price worry rises as mortgage woes grow," March 13

What is worrisome about young families being able to afford homes again in Southern California? What is worrisome about teachers, engineers and public employees not driven out of state anymore by skyrocketing property values? What is worrisome about the free market rewarding those who have responsibly saved for the future? A return to sanity in the housing market should be welcomed, not bemoaned.

BRIAN COOPER

Pasadena

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The growing incidence of foreclosures in Orange County would dramatically improve if property tax laws weren't so discriminatory. Statewide fixed percentages currently take unfair advantage of Orange County home buyers by pinching double or triple the dollars paid by comparable wage earners who live in similar homes located elsewhere.

It's flagrantly disastrous to presume that homeowners here can afford to spend a larger share on taxes when they're already struggling to pay a greater proportion of net earnings for shelter than most everyone else in the state.

Mortgage-qualified buyers are burdened with an additional $500 to $1,000-plus a month in assigned taxes on grossly inflated real estate values. Amounts collected should be based only on actual revenue needed for the necessary residential services these taxes fund, such as public utilities and teachers' salaries, which cost roughly the same in every community.

Even double-income households realize that the hardship caused by this practice may be the true deal-breaker against homeownership in Orange County.

JOAN SMITH

Westminster

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