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October 28, 2007

Downturn a plus for newlyweds

Jake and Ofelia Marino married in May and started looking to buy their first home.

After years of watching the region's housing prices skyrocket, they were pleasantly surprised to discover the market downturn has made houses much more affordable.

"We were able to get a really good mortgage interest rate (fixed at 5.87 percent) and a good price for a new home," Ofelia Marino said.

In August they paid $325,000 for a 2,061-square-foot, four-bedroom home in Heartland at Crossroads in Riverbank. The builder, Morrison Homes, had reduced the price about $50,000, which made it a better deal than what was being asked for many older houses in the region.

The Marinos are thrilled with their purchase. The home is centrally located for her job in Ceres and his job in Tracy. And the house gives them room to grow.

"Now we have a home where we'll be able to afford to have children," Ofelia Marino said. "We'll be able to pay for it with just one income so I can stay home with the kids."

Although the subdivision may sell some future homes for less than what they paid, Ofelia Marino said she's happy they bought when they did.

-- J.N. Sbranti

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