Industry News

Rehabbing habitat

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By SUSAN LADIKA The nonprofit group Habitat for Humanity is trying to put a dent in the glut of foreclosures in many parts of the country by buying up the houses, renovating them and selling them to their clients. It's a way to help reinvigorate blighted neighborhoods, and get families into homes much quicker than building from the ground up. "When a community has a number of vacant homes, the property value of the surrounding ones goes down, (and) the condition of surrounding homes goes down. People feel kind of discouraged," says Stephen Seidel, senior director of global program design and implementation of the Habitat for Humanity, headquartered in Atlanta. "By fixing it up we bring it back to life." While each of the 1,500 Habitat for Humanity affiliates in the United States sets its own strategies, purchasing foreclosures has been gaining traction this year. In a typical year, Habitat affiliates complete about 6,000 homes, and about 10 percent are...