Hammering All Over the Land

Low-cost mortgages spark a record surge in new home sales

When the builders of the Society Hill development in Peekskill, N.Y., announced last month that they would soon be selling 91 new condos at prices ranging from $98,500 to $140,000, the response from local residents was immediate and intense. People with sleeping bags started lining up outside the development's office six days before the first applications were to be given out. Soon the crowd swelled to 200, and the police had to be called in when several people tried to skip to the head of the line. Says Society Hill Developer Ara Hovnanian, a major builder throughout the Northeast: "We've been...

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