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Housing and Urban Planning
First-time buyers taking to the city
First-time buyers taking to the city

From the wall-length window in Tyler and Erin Matteau's rented fourth-floor apartment on North Calvert Street, there's a view to the south and, maybe, the young couple's immediate future. "Right there," said Tyler, pointing to a building within shouting distance just beyond Chase Street. "I guess a converted mattress factory or warehouse. That brick one right there." The price for the two-bedroom condominium on the first floor at Hunter Street had just dropped from $125,000 to $112,500, and the Matteaus, both 28, were hoping to qualify for a mortgage so they could buy it, joining those in the city who appear to be bucking a national trend. The...