I got this from The Consumerist. In Stockton, California, the mortgage crisis has resulted in waves of foreclosures, creating a virtual ghost town of empty homes in a former real estate boom area. Houses that once sold for $700,000 have trouble fetching even $200,000 and many houses stand empty without a prospective buyer in sight.

Marketplace’s Tess Vigland talked with two families in the area, the Sinclairs and the Fiddlers, and how they’re dealing with the situation. The Fiddlers are sticking it out, figuring that eventually the low housing prices will draw people back into the area. The Sinclairs, on the other hand, have given up. After months of scrimping and saving to make their ever increasing payments, they’ve simply stopped paying their mortgage.

Sinclair: We went through months of being skinflints, because we knew that we were going into the red, so we didn’t buy anything. All the sudden, we had a bank full of money and we’re living rent-free, but we know that’s not really our money.

Vigeland: How does that feel?

Esmeralda Sinclair: Great! Like he said, we were so tight with money…

Dan: It does feel great, because all the sudden, we feel like we have a little margin now where we can go out to dinner, get a babysitter…

Vigeland: But you’re not paying your mortgage. You’re not paying the biggest obligation you have. How does that feel good?

Esmeralda: We already went through the guilt. his is really what we need to do, not what we wanted to do, but what we need to do.

Read the rest of the story here