Many rural residents jumped to get subprime loans at initial affordable terms during the mid-2000s, only to have fortunes disappear as housing boom turned to bust. Signs of the aftermath:
— Empty homes. Between 2007 and 2009, vacancy rates more than doubled in rural counties in which at least 40 percent of housing loans were subprime; in 2009, the average housing vacancy was 25 percent. That increase was higher than for both metropolitan areas and rural counties as whole.
— Disappearing residents. While the U.S. population grew from 2007 to 2009, rural counties with the highest rates of subprime lending at 40 percent or more lost 1.5 percent of their residents, compared with a 0.75 percent loss for rural counties overall.
— Weak housing recovery. Houses in rural counties with high levels of subprime lending were slower to rebound in value, with the rates of increase lagging overall rural counties by one-fifth from 2007 to 2009.