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Real estate should rethink affordable housing

Perspective: Foreclosure crisis creates opportunity to focus on shelter

Experts may disagree on whether the Chinese characters for "crisis" can or cannot be equated to the words "danger" and "opportunity." But regardless of ancient-language etymology, the concepts of danger and opportunity are appropriate to today's housing crisis. There's no doubt that the crisis has caused a lot of pain. Lenders and investors have lost their shirts. Realtors and mortgage brokers have lost their livelihoods. And home buyers, many of them first-timers or minorities, have lost their homes. But will the lessons of toxic mortgages, blind-eyed regulators, irrational borrowers and inflated appraisals be learned this time? Or will the problems again repeat themselves and will the pain that so many have endured come again to naught? One absolutely vital lesson that simply must be learned to turn this crisis into new opportunities is that the affordability of housing, whether it is owned or rented, should be a higher public policy priority...