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Housing distress reaches rural America

Foreclosures reshape real estate landscape: Part III

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Editor's note: The foreclosure crisis is reshaping cities and towns across America. Planners are taking note of contributors to the current problems and are taking action to address the crisis while avoiding such massive fallout in future real estate market downturns. This three-part series focuses on the how the foreclosure wave has hit suburbia, urban communities and rural communities and how they are responding to the challenge. Foreclosure was like a foreign word to the folks in rural Maine. Auctions, short sales and real estate-owned sales happened in overbuilt, high-growth cities such as Las Vegas and Phoenix -- they seemed out of place in a small state that prides itself on "the way life should be" and subscribes to a wilderness philosophy of "slow to grow." "Mainers don't default (on loans)," said Jim Gulnac, planning and community development director in Sanford, a southern Maine town of 21,000 people. But they have defaulted -- a ...