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Car ownership linked to mortgage defaults

Study says cost of housing should include transportation costs

A recent study shows a direct link between car ownership in a given neighborhood and mortgage foreclosure rates. The Natural Resources Defense Council conducted the study, "Location Efficiency and Mortgage Default," by comparing 40,000 mortgages in Chicago, San Francisco, and Jacksonville, Fla., along with U.S. Census data on neighborhood conditions, incomes, and car ownership. The study found that, as the average number of vehicles per household in a neighborhood rises, so does the probability of foreclosure, after controlling for income. "Add urban sprawl to the list of sources for our current financial mess," said David Goldstein, co-director of the nonprofit public health and environmental advocacy organization's Energy Program, in a statement. "It's not just predatory lending or lax standards. The connection between transportation costs and mortgage default cannot be ignored. The sooner we address it in our lending and development practices, the soo...

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