The easier it is to get around an area without a car, the less likely a homeowner there will default, all other things being equal, an environmentalist group says.

A study released Wednesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council found a direct link between foreclosure rates and the transportation costs in a given area. Lenders, the group said, should change their underwriting practices to give "better borrowing terms" to buyers of homes in compact areas that are well served by public transit and other alternatives to the automobile.

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