Another day, another report on something not good for your health — a study out of Cambridge, Massachusetts, found that people who live within 300 feet of a foreclosed home tend to have slightly higher blood pressure than other people in the same neighborhood and that it increases with each additional foreclosure within the radius. Previous studies concluded that being in foreclosure was mentally and physically taxing, but this study focused on the neighbors of such homes.
Data from 1,740 people living in Massachusetts between 1987 and 2008 were examined. And the distance of 300 feet from a participant’s home was used because “that’s the distance that real estate people have found has an effect on home values,” says lead author Mariana Arcaya, a Yerby Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. That distance usually covers two or three houses to the right and left of a home as well as in front and behind.
Research found that each foreclosed property was associated with an average increase of 1.71 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure (the upper number in blood pressure readings).
Cliff Cole, broker and owner at Pristine Properties in Mount Sinai whose company purchases foreclosures, says he never really thought about it but wasn't surprised to hear the findings of the study and says it's likely to occur in communities where prices are lower and homes are closer together.
"There's usually a lot of activity around foreclosed properties, usually with teenagers hanging out," he says.