Bubble Survivors: Marooned in Distant Suburbs
A fallout of the housing bubble was the creation of the financially marooned.
In the 1980’s, land prices in Japan rose to such astronomical levels, that the only places people could afford were far away from central Tokyo. Many individuals were forced in to deep debt by buying poor quality homes in areas that were hours away from their offices. These were the only places they could afford.
Subsequently, when a fall in Tokyo's real estate led to severe declines in property values in the outlying areas., people who purchased these properties were stuck, and could not sell them since they now fetched less than the balance on their mortgages, taken over a decade or more ago. Many till today are trying to make the best of life in homes that are far away from work and for which they had grossly overpaid.
Read the next story in this series: All the King's Horses and All the King's Men
This article has been developed from the October 2005 issues of the New York Times. You can read it here