Destitution North of the Border – Alex Hannaford – National – The Atlantic

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Colonias — impoverished communities along the United States' southern border — date back to the 1950s when ruthless property developers created unincorporated subdivisions on agriculturally useless land that usually lay in floodplains. They failed to put in any infrastructure and then sold the plots to people seeking affordable housing at hugely inflated rates of interest.

"Miss one payment," says Lionel Lopez who runs the South Texas Colonia Initiative, an advocacy group for residents, "and you have to start all over again."

[Link to Destitution North of the Border - Alex Hannaford - National - The Atlantic]

Rent vs. Buy Index

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Trulia's Q1 2011 Rent vs. Buy Index provides guidance to help you make a smart decision on whether it is better to rent or buy in each of America's 50 largest cities by population. The Rent:Buy Ratio is calculated by using the median list price compared with the median rent on two-bedroom apartments, condos and townhomes listed on Trulia.com.

I'm glad we made the economically-wise decision to buy our first house last year.

[Link to Rent vs. Buy Index]

Lower interest deduction better for deficit?

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Thirty-year mortgages at 4 1/2 percent require much less in monthly interest payments than do similar loans at 5 1/2 percent or 6 percent. Millions of homeowners who had been paying even higher rates than that have refinanced in the past year – the combined effect of which has been to reduce the estimated amounts of interest being written off now and for the next couple of years at least.

[Link to Lower interest deduction better for deficit?]