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Around The Block, Weekly Kick-Off Ed.

There’s a weekend’s worth of news to catch up on today:

At a Glance An extension of the Homebuyer Tax Credit fails in the Senate for now. In the wake of Fannie Mae’s announcement that it will penalize strategic mortgage defaulters, Wall Street Journal finds that about one in five homeowners who default do so strategically (meaning they choose to walk away from a mortgage even though they have the money to pay it off).

Financial Reform Last week we reported on the pleasant surprise in the reform bill, an additional $1 billion for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. We’ll have more on reform’s potential affect on the housing market later this week. Though the tragic news of Senator Robert Byrd’s death complicates the odds of the bill’s final passage.

Affordability’s Value (and Style) A new study from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation and Enterprise Community Partners offers proof that affordable housing is good for the economy. And the New York Times reports on the “design revolution has taken place in affordable housing since the 1980s.”

New Poor Under Attack, Cont. The New Yorker tells us why financial literacy is essential for promoting homeownership responsibly.

Death of Pleasantville, Cont. William H. Lucy, author of Foreclosing the Dream, explains why “Increasingly, people with choices and financial resources want to live in cities.”

Living in Green Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs committee will hold a hearing tomorrow on Green Housing. Jonathan Hiskes doesn’t understand why Fannie and Freddie are making it difficult for homeowners to get loans for green housing improvements.

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