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Hovnanian Homes: From Upscale To Communal Living?

I'm at a Hovnanian community in Woodbridge, VA today, covering the story of an incredible three-day sale, where the beleaguered builder is slashing prices over 100 thousand dollars. This area is new home central; bulldozers on steroids and the sound of nail guns coming at you like a bad day in Iraq.

The folks at 'Hovnaniana' are all excited that we're covering the big sale, but one of their customers is less than thrilled. Gregg Aldana took his life savings two years ago to buy a Hovnanian home here that he thought he could live in forever. He thought it would be the greatest investment of his life. Now, with the builder lowering prices on the homes all around him, he's not so sure. I assumed it was because even one house sold at a lower price lowers the value of all the homes around it. But he told me about a trend here that I had never heard of before.

These are all pretty big homes, out here in the middle of strip-mall nowhere land, and they boast many levels with many rooms. The houses are all in about the $400,000 range, so no jumbo loans necessary. Gregg seemed very upset about the "element" of people that are now filling these homes, especially since he says Hovnanian described this as an "upscale" community. He says that because the homes are so big, there are multiple families living in each home, which by the way is against the zoning laws here.

I looked around the driveways, and I have to say, there were an awful lot of cars in many of them for just one family. He claims very low-income families are pooling their money, much of which came, he believes, from subprime loans, and living communally.

I don't know anymore right now that what Aldana told me but I do find it more than just a little interesting.

Questions? Comments? RealtyCheck@cnbc.com

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  • Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.

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