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Housing healthier near thriving metros

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As housing prices near a bottom -- perhaps by late 2009 -- homes closer to cities with thriving economies and mass transit will outperform outer-ring suburbs and "exurban areas," where high gas prices are making long car commutes prohibitively expensive and rising energy costs mean higher utility bills.That's the conclusion of a report released today by the Urban Land Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP that's based on interviews with more than 600 real estate experts, including investors, developers, lenders and real estate brokers. The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit that bills itself as dedicated to promoting the "responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide."The report, Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2009, projects that the worst of the national housing downturn may be over, with a price bottom probably forming by late 2009. But there's still more pain to come, the report predicted, in part because mortgage lende...