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Buying Homes Near Foreclosed Property May Boost Blood Pressure

Update Date: May 12, 2014 08:28 PM EDT

Buying homes near foreclosed property may damage your health, according to a new study.

Researchers found that people living near foreclosed property have significantly higher blood pressure levels than those who don't. The latest findings revealed that foreclosed property might negatively influence neighbors' systolic blood pressure, which is the top number in a blood pressure reading.

The latest study involved data from 1,740 participants from the Framingham (Massachusetts) Offspring Cohort, which is part of the Framingham Heart Study.

Researchers separated real-estate-owned foreclosures, which are owned by lenders and tend to be empty, and foreclosures purchased by third-party buyers, which are generally lived in.

The study linked each additional foreclosed property within 100 meters (328 feet) of participants' homes to an average increase of 1.71 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure. Researchers found that the findings only held true to that were real estate owned. They noted there was no effect from foreclosed properties more than 100 meters from participants' homes.

"The increases in blood pressure observed could be due in part to unhealthy stress from residents' perception that their own properties are less valuable, their streets less attractive or safe and their neighborhoods less stable," lead researcher Mariana Arcaya, Sc.D., M.C.P., a Yerby Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies in Cambridge, Mass., said in a news release. "Safety could also be a concern that affects their ability to exercise in these neighborhoods."

"Healthcare providers, particularly those serving neighborhoods still recovering from the recent housing crisis, should be aware of foreclosure activity as a possible source of unhealthy stress for residents," Arcaya said.

The findings were published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

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