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The most out of left field
The most out of left field
John H. Vogel
Introduce fixed-price housing

John H. Vogel, a real estate economist at Dartmouth College, has a plan he says cures both the mortgage market and housing affordability. He proposes that the government buy up the mortgages of troubled borrowers and give them smaller mortgages, reflecting the drop in real estate values. The catch: The price of those houses would be forever fixed at their new loan amount.

The pros: The program could produce as many as 2 million affordable homes. Of course, owners wouldn't be able to profit in future housing booms. But they'd get a house at below-market prices.

The cons: Living next to a house that never goes up in value could decrease the value of your house as well. Buying up all the houses from the banks could cost as much as $200 billion. (In time, much of that would get paid back by borrowers.)

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Last updated April 10 2008: 4:46 PM ET
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