Letters: Housing Market And Pervasive Poverty

NPR's Neal Conan reads from listener feedback about previous Talk of the Nation show topics, including listener reports on the current state of the U.S. housing market, and what keeps people impoverished.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

It's Tuesday and time to read from your comments.

As home prices begin to rebound and foreclosures appear to be falling, we ask listeners to report on what's happening to the housing market in their location, location, location. Realtor Bryan Garrett(ph) emailed: The market in San Francisco is booming. It's actually frustrating for my clients, who are buyers because they almost always have to compete for properties that they find compelling. The lack of inventory and very strong demand have really caused our prices to be pushed up significantly in a very short time.

The same is true for Rentz: We're seeing homes selling for hundreds of thousands over the asking price. In some cases, if the property is located in a trendy or desirable area where consumers have the ability to walk to restaurants, entertainment and public transportation.

And Sean Washinko(ph) commented: I have the unique position of being a real estate broker in both Northern Virginia and Tampa, Florida. The Northern Virginia market is in its usual solid and steady position, but our area in Florida is nothing like that. Low-priced properties, mainly distressed properties under $100,000, are selling well in Florida. Homes with higher prices are stagnant.

In our discussion about poverty with Tavis Smiley and Cornel West, we invited those who identify as lower class, what keeps them there? Indira Gutierrez in Utah had this comment: I'm going to school part-time and working full-time. I work at a law office and make $12,000 a year. That is what keeping me poor because I'm sacrificing my living conditions today in hopes of attaining an education and having a better future tomorrow. However, I see there are no guarantees, so I can only hope all this effort is worth it.

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