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The Unraveling of the Suburban Fringe

Most of the overbuilding during the housing bubble took place in outer-ring suburbs. They are also likely the places to be hit worst by the downturn

The 30 or so highway miles from Prince William County in Northern Virginia to Washington, D.C., are among the nation's most stress-inducing stretches.

The drive can last 40 minutes or a couple hours, depending on the intensity of traffic. Train service to the city is limited. And morning commuters sometimes line up for an hour-and-a-half just to be able to stand in a crowded D.C.-bound bus.