Top Posts on HousingWatch Last Week

From a sprawling French-style chateau to the latest trend in small-scale living, we covered stories of all sizes here on HousingWatch this week. See what else caught our readers' eyes.

1. Cell Exec's Dream Chateau Becoming Nightmare
Even in a down housing market, the numbers are shocking: a 34,800-square-foot mansion built for a reported $72 million -- with a 15-car garage and 18-karat gold fixtures -- sitting empty and on the market for eight years. Ouch! Read more.

2. Gulf Oil Spill Update: Housing Prices Suffering Too
As the first signs of the catastrophic Gulf oil spill wash up on Florida beaches, the disaster's impact on the housing market also starts to show. Will Gulf Coast homeowners be able to roll with the tide? Read more.
3. Key West Bargains Abound After Home Prices Drop
Now even average Joes have a shot at living the rarefied island lifestyle of Papa Hemingway and Jimmy Buffett, as Key West property prices have taken an estimated 35 to 60 percent drop. Paradise cheeseburgers for everyone! Read more.

4. New Mortgage Guidelines Changed Borrower Attitudes
A new report from the Mortgage Banker's Association floats the theory that the housing crisis was caused, in part, by lenders offering "exotic" risk-based loans to population segments they were never intended for. Sounds about right to us. Read more.

5. Backyard Cottages: Affordable Housing Solution?
Formerly a quaint personal-space annex for homeowners, the backyard cottage is being repurposed as a solution to suburban sprawl and affordable urban housing; naysayers worry about everything from privacy issues to deforestation, though. Read more.

6. Walk Away From Your Mortgage: A Good New Beginning?
A growing segment of homeowners is taking a chance on the latest grassroots loan-modification idea, by simply stopping payments on their mortgage. While the drastic move might free up funds in the short term, is it worth the risk? Read more.
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