Falling Home Sales May Stifle Urban Revitalization

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Many American cities transformed themselves during the long real estate boom, when rising prices helped to revive rundown neighborhoods from Washington to Dallas and Los Angeles.

The recovery even reached cities like Newark, N.J., and Cleveland, Ohio, which once seemed dead.

But as prices fall across the nation, there are new fears that revitalized urban centers may face problems.

As Nicolas Retsinas, director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, tells Steve Inskeep, the two groups who were repopulating cities — empty nesters and young professionals — will increasingly stay put in the suburbs.

Describing how the current housing crisis is affecting cities, Retsinas says that the empty-nesters are less able to sell their homes, while many younger people aren't able to get financing as easily as they could in the recent past.



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