[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/20/art.new.home.jpg caption="The Lepley family's new home, recently purchased for $250,000 once valued at more than $550,000."]
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/20/art.newhome.family.jpg caption="Derrick, and Mary Ann Lepley with their daughter, Melody."]
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/20/art.home.sell.jpg caption="The house that the Aceves family is trying to short sell."]
CNN Senior Producer
The two-story homes on Fir Circle in an upscale Lake Elsinore, California neighborhood tell two stunningly different tales.
Some are vacant, bank-owned and beat-up inside.
Others are filled with kids' laughter and the sounds of boxes unpacking and families moving in.
Mary Ann Lepley, her husband Derrick and their two-year-old daughter Melody have been in their 3,000 square-foot home on Fir Circle for almost three months.
They bought it for about $250,000 and it once sold for most $300,000 more than that.
The couple is in their mid-twenties.
"We never, ever expected to be able to buy a home like this," says Derrick walking through the four-bedroom house. "But look at it, we feel fortunate."
The Lepleys are “Sunday School polite” and say they feel for people in this neighborhood who have lost their homes or are fighting to keep them.
Right next door Frank and Leslie Aceves are in the midst of a different situation. They are trying to "short sell" their house in order to avoid foreclosure and lose everything to the bank.
The couple has two children, 10 and 3, and they bought their 3,500 square-foot home for $620,000 a few years ago.
A house about the same size across the street recently went for $267,000 thousand dollars.
"We just didn't think it (the plunging prices) would happen," said Leslie Aceves, who recently lost her job. "We just thought it would stop somewhere."
Lake Elsinore is in California’s Riverside County where the assessor's office says one in 80 homes is now in the foreclosure process.
"Riverside County is in the middle of the mortgage meltdown," laments County assessor Larry Ward.
"It's really tough on people, the foreclosures and prices that dropped below one hundred dollars a square foot."
The agony and the ecstasy.
For many families going through the process of home foreclosure, or selling short, there are other families buying homes they never thought they could have afforded before the downturn of the housing market.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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