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Foreclosure Crisis Brings Challenges, Opportunities to Stockton, Calif.

The economic downturn in Stockton, Calif., one of the first communities in the country to experience the foreclosure crisis, is bringing challenges and opportunities there. Spencer Michels reports from the central California city.

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  • AUCTIONEER:

    … road, really nice home, only 30 grand to start it. What a value! It's $30,000…

    SPENCER MICHELS, NewsHour correspondent: Thirty thousand dollars for a home? That's what auctioneers were asking recently in Stockton, Calif., one of the first communities in the country to experience the foreclosure crisis and recession, and now trying to figure out how to recover from them.

    With banks unloading a record number of foreclosed homes, prices have plummeted more than 50 percent.

    So this is one of how many properties you have?

  • LENI ATKINSON, realtor:

    I have 20 listings currently.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    Realtor Leni Atkinson is caught up in the crisis. She specializes in selling foreclosed properties for banks. She checks her listings often to keep out squatters. Sometimes she has to evict people.

  • LENI ATKINSON:

    You feel bad for the folks who have lost their home. Then again, it's an opportunity for someone else.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    A few years ago, this poorly maintained little Victorian in south Stockton would have gone for $200,000, but the auctioneers, working for the bank, sold it for $40,000. That could be a good thing, says Atkinson.

  • LENI ATKINSON:

    It's a great opportunity for people to get in and really own their first home at a great price.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    Are people kind of nervous about the fact that the market is so bad it could even go lower, money is hard to get?

  • LENI ATKINSON:

    If they're nervous, I don't see it. I see the buyers coming out in droves. I have been doing fabulous. It's been an unbelievable year selling foreclosures. I love it.

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