Real Estate: Thistles in the New Towns

By the time it turned five years old this spring, Sunset/Whitney Ranch was supposed to have grown into a thriving city-in-the-country, with a blend of homes, stores and factories and a population well on its way toward an ultimate 100,000. So far, the place has attracted only two plants and 1,200 inhabitants; lack of sales halted home building two years ago at the 12,000-acre site 25 miles northeast of Sac ramento, Calif. Now "For Sale" signs dot Sunset's vacant lots—also some of its occupied homes spotted here and there amid the expanse...

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