House prices plummet in Detroit, Indianapolis, Cleveland

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64 Responses to “House prices plummet in Detroit, Indianapolis, Cleveland”

  1. Eyebrows McGee says:

    @#3: “I moved to Pittsburgh about 20 months ago, and I’ve been stunned by the fact that somehow, they missed the bubble.”

    I’m in Peoria, and we haven’t seen major housing upset either. Prices never skyrocketed, so they haven’t fallen. While there are more foreclosures, that’s just the economy.

    In housing markets that never got hot, the bubble just didn’t happen. Not to denigrate Peoria or Pittsburgh, but who “flips” for the $100,000 profit in Peoria or Pittsburgh? I have a friend who rehabs houses in Peoria, but typically she buys them, moves in for two years, and sells for a $20,000 to $30,000 profit after rehabbing them from “crappy” to “up to neighborhood standard.”

    That said, even in Peoria there are deals to be had — many lower-income families simply can’t get together the financing or downpayment to buy, so houses are sitting on the market a lot longer. There aren’t $1,000 houses (well, I’ve seen $6,000, but they look like what you’d expect), but there are some $20,000 to $30,000 properties in foreclosure (in $60,000 to $80,000 neighborhoods) that are very affordable for someone with good credit and the downpayment and would make nice rentals … because a lot of these families that can’t get a mortgage CAN make rent. If you can find the foreclosure that’s in manageable condition, of course, that won’t cost $40,000 to bring up to code!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well, it’s not $500, but is relatively close–

    http://www.trulia.com/foreclosure/2003514624–Grandville-Ave-Detroit-MI-48223

    You can search the site for cheaper properties, but good luck finding a reasonable photo…

    I’ve lived in the area my entire life and have thought about buying, but I can guarantee the neighborhoods are not desirable in the least and the houses are probably stripped bare, in addition to having squatters.

    Interestingly,
    historical properties in Detroit are also extremely reasonable.
    Boston Edison, for instance, is still a posh neighborhood and has very reasonable properties:

    http://www.realtor.com/realestate/1104818219/

    Where else can you get a mansion for under $60,000 (in addition to substantial tax credits?)

  3. magicbean says:

    i grew up in the ‘Burgh. Hated, hated, hated it. Heart of rust belt, 20 miles from West Virginia, dirt farm appalachian coal towns to the east. And now 20 years later, it’s actually a pretty cool city. It’s behind the curve on a lot of things like agriculture and open space, has WAY too many big box stores and strip malls, and once you step outside the county, it’s crazy conservative, but it’s getting there. Detroit home prices, better culture.

  4. Purly says:

    I see an opportunity for Habitat for Humanity. Somebody purchase these properties and donate to them. They can choose to either fix the problems themselves or they can use the homes for parts in their construction of new homes.

  5. Keppoch says:

    @ #25 jetsetsc:

    “How does one un-develop land? As these cities shrink, and the real value of certain properties approaches zero, at what point does it make sense to abandon neighborhoods to nature?”

    The Talking Heads said it best:

    This used to be real estate
    Now it’s only fields and trees
    Where, where is the town
    Now, it’s nothing but flowers
    The highways and cars
    Were sacrificed for agriculture
    I thought that we’d start over
    But I guess I was wrong

  6. Anonymous says:

    As other commenters have mentioned, anyone wanting to buy an ultra-cheap house that you might actually want to live in would want to look at Pittsburgh (or near-East Cleveland?).

    A lot of property in the fringe areas of East Liberty, Garfield, etc. can be bought extremely cheaply ($15k+) but with good schools, relatively low crime and of course all the signs of gentrification that infuriate anyone who bought a house before 1997.

    Unfortunately, those are things that Detroit probably can’t replicate on demand, and of course you have to wonder what happened when all those housing projects (like our own blighted Arc de Triomphethat! RIP) made way for retail in Pittsburgh’s East End…

  7. Zookeep says:

    Lots.Try Adams real estate.11 mile Rd Royal Oak Mi.Tell em what your looking for REPOS.Also Daryl Sanders at Treasure Homes in Detroit.I know them both,their smart and reputable.Sorry about the plug but their good people.

  8. Brad S. says:

    But then you’d have to live in Detroit.

  9. Carl says:

    I love Michigan.

  10. Cupcake Faerie says:

    It depends on just how much of an urban pioneer you want to be. My wife and I got on this bandwagon two years ago and bought a properties in Kalamazoo, Michigan for $29k and $20K respectively. We lived there for a little over a year before throwing in the towel ( being west coast people, it was just too weird/hostile/racially/class-wise to live there ) and moving to Chicago. We were lucky we could. Now we rent out the properties while we rent in Chicago. Michigan in particular has been *HARD* hit by the recession which has been going on a lot longer than the media would have you believe.Granted, there were some very cool people living in Kzoo, but there were almost all affiliated with the university (WMU). What schizophrenic town!

  11. t3knomanser says:

    @Brad S. : Or Cleveland.

    I moved to Pittsburgh about 20 months ago, and I’ve been stunned by the fact that somehow, they missed the bubble. Property prices in the city have stayed pretty much the same with little bumps and drops. I did see a 4BR place in my neighborhood for $200K, which is about half the price for other 4BRs; I’m assuming it must be a dump or next to falling over.

    Perils of living in the trendy hoity toity neighborhood: rent is cheap if you don’t mind small, buying is expensive even if you buy small.

  12. Purly says:

    I’m highly skeptical of this.

  13. Master Gracey says:

    Anyone know if these houses have high-spped internet available?

    Then again, your cable bill would likely exceed your mortgage payment each month, but the property taxes would likely be mighty low, allowing you to save up and send your kids to a private school…

  14. Anonymous says:

    Well, the biggest problem is getting a job once you scoop up that house.

  15. Master Gracey says:

    Literal “Ghetto Colos” are just around the corner…

    PURLY – I think this is real (I’ve heard about sub-$1000 houses in/near Detroit for a while), but the truth is no one is buying in those neighborhoods, no matter what the price.

  16. technogeek says:

    Sounds like a great time for a robber baron to swoop in, buy up a bunch of these, repair them (repos have often been scavenged for everything sailable, as folks fought to make the payments), rent them out until the housing market settles, then sell ‘em off.

    If it’s true.

    I’m not convinced. Yeah, occasionally auctions produce weird results, especially when the seller really just wants to get the liability off their hands or when the place needs a lot of work (see above) or has other issues (superfund site? toxic mold?) But if the bank was really willing to sell that low a price, they should have been willing to let the prior owner negotiate out at a more reasonable price.

    This has gotta be either an anomaly, or akin to the youngster who told an NPR reporter that his name was Mike, last name Rotch.

  17. Anonymous says:

    #4 – There’s no reason to doubt how low (Flint/Detroit/Cleveland/etc.)’s house prices go. The MI cities especially are becoming even bigger eyesores than they’ve ever been. Leß than two years ago (maybe even 1), a Detroit house sold for $1.

  18. digimark says:

    Just brainstorming here… If houses were $1K a pop, and let’s say 20 houses/block. an enterprising person could swoop in, pick up several blocks worth of houses, upgrade the best one in the middle, knock down the rest, fence it in all-around and pick up a 10 acre preserve for a pittance.

    Or an investor could come in with the money, knock as much down as possible, clear it all out, just bulldoze several square miles, and stand ready for redevelopment or reseed some forests and call it a state park…

  19. Anonymous says:

    @ Brad S…

    I’m always a little surprised that people are so willing to write off Detroit based on a seemingly endless succession of sit-com jokes for which we are an easy punchline (a point that your comment proves nicely). The fact is that Detroit is a wonderland. It is entirely unique as a major urban area that is so neglected that it is almost free of rules. You can be what you want here. You wanna be rich, white and boring? You’ll be in good company here. Wanna be poor and downtrodden? We’ve got that, too. And if you want to be a groundbreaking artist? Well, there’s no better place to strap on your strange and shake it for the world to see. Just ask Alice Cooper, Aretha Franklin, the White Stripes, Tyree Guyton (http://www.heidelberg.org/) or John Dunivant (founder of Theatre Bizarre – theatrebizarre.com). I’ve lived lots of places, but I keep coming back to Detroit… and with good reason.

  20. Kobie says:

    Sounds strange – why sell a place for $500? For all the paper work, court judgements, listings etc, wouldn’t it just be cheaper to give it to the previous owner for free rather than foreclose?

  21. thekevinmonster says:

    #7: What if the house foreclosed before the housing market went bust, and it’s in such a depressed area that no one can afford to / wants to live there?

    a note on buying foreclosed…

    A friend of mine bought a foreclosed house in Ferndale, MI (a few miles outside of Detroit proper) for just around 70k and it came with no appliances, a dangerous front porch, and while negotiating the deal someone stole the copper piping out of the basement. That caused the process to extend for months as HUD fiddled around before coughing up the money to fix it (it was owned by HUD at the time and there were no visible signs of forced entry.)

    There is also some pretty sketchy internal remodelling work done between when the house was built and when my friend bought it. However, the house was in otherwise decent shape, i.e the previous owners did not defecate all over the walls and fill it with dead rats or anything like that.

  22. DougDante says:

    “Shrinking Detroit has 12,000 abandoned homes.”

    “And Detroit is still losing about 10,000 people every year.”

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1463747/posts

    And even more new homes are being built in Detroit!

    http://www.newhomesource.com/New-Homes/state-Michigan/area-Detroit

    These old homes aren’t cheap. They’re worthless.

    What needs to happen:

    - Crime needs to come down (it did in 2008 – hurray!)
    - Public schools need to improve (Charter schools and school competition have been helping here)
    - Immigrants need to feel welcome. (Look at any large city in the USA that is growing, immigration from another country is just out pacing residents who move to the suburbs)

    Even so, don’t expect Detroit’s population to skyrocket any time soon. Given 10+ years of waiting for better times, these rotten shells of former homes will be even more worthless.

    Tear them down!

  23. Baldhead says:

    Is this $500 total? I mean that would be less than a monthly mortgage payment from the previous owner.

    Even a poor bastard like myself could find a way to afford that, aside from the “must at least go to detroit” angle.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I’d be willing to bet that the houses have been stripped or otherwise damaged. Detroit has had a surplus of vacant houses since the white flight of the 1960′s.

    The hard part about the vacant housing problem is actually tearing them down. The ideal solution would be for the city to just outright eliminate entire neighborhoods. Move out the residents, bulldoze the houses, tear up the streets, remove the overhead utilities, etc. Thus saving the city money in the long term. The problem arises in the form of the red-tape nightmare this solution entails.

    -You have got to find the owner that walked away from the house. That may have happened 30 years ago. The owner could be dead, no relatives, who knows? The city still has to prove this in court before they can rightfully take over the property using eminent domain.

    -You’ve got to move out the remaining residents in these neighborhoods, residents who usually come in the form of TV-friendly 79 year old grandmothers…

    -The city has had to deal with shady real estate dealers who buy up these $500 dollar homes knowing that the city wants to destroy them. Then they tie up the city in court (Hey, a 4 bedroom two bathroom house in Ann Arbor is selling for $179,000! How dare the city offer me $5000 on a house I paid $500 for?)

    -Then you’ve got the general Wayne County issue where the contractor hired is a City Council Member’s cousin or brother in law. Said contractor will then not do the work, charge the city triple the going rate (for work that wasn’t done), and disappear.

    Youngstown, OH has had good success with similar programs, they just take for freaking ever. Detroit usually bulldozes about a hundred homes a year, but that seems like keeping the ocean back with a broom right now.

    Welcome to the recession party everyone. We’ve been waiting here for you for years

  25. buddy66 says:

    FABULOUS Ruins of Detroit! Take the Tour.

    http://detroityes.com/home.htm

  26. Cupcake Faerie says:

    We would sadly joke that Kalamazoo was a pretty little town surrounded, and I’m not kidding, by the ghetto-est ghetto you’ve ever seen. Literally a circle of hell. Our neighbors had pit bulls that barked non-stop, got loose occasionally. We were known affectionately as “those weird people from Portland”, or “the cop callers”. Crack deals were a regular way our next door neighbors paid their mortgage. Of course, if you like living on a street where car stereos boom boom so loud your windows shake, or people walk around on the street who you might mistake for zombies, then Kalamazoo might be for you. For a west coaster, the cultural displacement was too much. Our house, btw, for $29k , really was quite a deal. Almost a 100 years old, has nicely finished wood floors, very solid two story structure that we continue to make nicer. We wish we could move it to Chicago.

  27. Anonymous says:

    @Technogeek It’s not a one-off – houses really do go for that cheap, depending on the neighborhood. Detroit is my hometown, and my parents still live there (I went to Ann Arbor for University, met a nice girl, and i’m never going back.)

    What this doesn’t say is that Detroit property taxes are really expensive; many of these homes have liens or other things you’d have to pay off. My parents live on a corner lot, and the 3 other corners at the intersection are all empty – and our neighborhood used to be nice, compared to what you could find a few blocks in any other direction. Houses that sit empty for more than a month or two often have their wiring and/or copper pipes stolen, followed by the siding or anything else that can be scrapped and sold.

    Renting them out isn’t the best solution either, as most of the people looking to rent homes in Detroit are seeking to do so under Section 8 housing (a program where the government pays part of the rent for people who can’t afford the full amount,) and while Section 8 is a valiant effort, it doesn’t produce the most stable or trustworthy renters. We rent out the home my grandmother used to live in, and finding someone who doesn’t move in, never pays rent, waits the mandatory eviction period and then leaves before the bailiff shows up is a little more difficult than you’d like it to be.

  28. Anonymous says:

    That’s what you get for buying houses in Japan.

  29. TransplantToMi says:

    Michigan resident here, married to a guy from Flint. He owned a house in Flint in the early 90s; I think he paid around $20K for it. We found the same house listed on Realtor.com a couple of years ago for under $5K. When we drove by it this year, it was next to a house that had burned down – debris everywhere – and part of the siding had melted. Bet I could have bought it with a check, and had plenty left in my account.

    If you haven’t been to some of the most downtrodden neighborhoods in Detroit or Flint, it’s hard to believe. I joked until I moved here. Holy fuck, it’s amazing. I’ve seen Central American poverty that didn’t look any worse. Whole blocks look like they’ve been ravaged by war or a natural disaster.

    Both cities are grossly oversized for the remaining population and employment. The infrastructure is rotten. The existence of some truly glorious building shells causes ongoing friction between preservationists and those who would rent the bulldozers themselves.

    Opportunistic flippers who buy these cheap houses (sometimes via eBay or sight unseen) make matters worse. Often there are years of back taxes owed. Plumbing and electrical systems have been ripped out and structural damage done by malicious vandals. It’s not unusual to have the same property abandoned again and again.

    I envy those of you who can believe this isn’t true. Come visit sometime.

  30. robin_hood says:

    St Louis as well….

    I have multiple friends here who have bought houses for less than $1k. Often times there are back property taxes that need to be paid and rehab that needs to be done within a set period of time to get things up to code, but in most of the disinvested, post-industrial midwest you can get houses for near free, and could even before the real estate bottom.

    Cupcake, I’ve worked on issues of concentrated poverty for years, and while Kzoo has its share, I can assure you that it is not the worst by far – East and North St Louis, parts of Detroit, parts of the southside of Chicago are all much more intense poverty and violence wise.

  31. Rezpect says:

    Cupcake Faerie makes the only point you need to make here: the houses are cheap because you have to live in hell hole neighborhoods. Not worth it.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Yes, there are very cheap homes to buy in Flint MI but they don’t tell you that most of these homes have been totally gutted and are just a shell. I live in Flint and it is almost a ghost town with some neighborhoods with houses that are all empty and gutted. Alot of these homes need to be torn down instead of being sold to become owned by slumlords who halfway or won’t fix them up right but they will charge high rent.

  33. jjasper says:

    I wonder what the annual fees and property taxes are on the $500 bungalow.

  34. Anonymous says:

    Most of these will probably be bought by speculators, which often ends up contributing to a new housing price bubble.

    Is there a resource that shows median taxes in these areas hardest hit?

  35. Kevin Kenny says:

    At those prices, get together a consortium, buy a few blocks, and incorporate a village. Hire some cops to keep the surrounding riffraff out. Get the city to write off the back taxes as an “urban development grant.” A roof and plumbing have got to be worth more than a thousand bucks, no matter where in the country they are. (Oh, the roof is fire-damaged, and the plumbing is ripped out. Well, then. Maybe it *is* time to abandon.)

  36. celia says:

    In college, I took a historiography class , we read a book, Nature’s Metropolis (about how artificial our nature is, and how organic most of the older cities at least are) which had us talking about which was ‘wilder’ the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, or downtown Detroit. It was concluded that you were much safer in the UP.

    Incidentally, the college I went to, Kalamazoo College, had most of the student population come from within a 2.5 hour circle around the college–ie, Detroit and Chicago. I was from a cowtown in central PA, so I’d never know where anything was, and rated Detroit and Chicago as roughly equal–big scary cities, pretty much. Every time I’d run into new people there, and there would be the usual discussion of where they were from. Someone would say, “I’m from Chicago,” and then I’d push for details and it would turn out they were from a suburb so far out it was nearly in Missouri. On the other hand, there would be people who’d be like, “Oh, I’m from Highland Park. It’s on the east side of the state.” and I’d have to push and push and push to get them to admit that actually it was pretty much Detroit. Thus my current belief system: Detroit: Bad. Chicago: not as bad.

  37. Glossolalia Black says:

    Michigan’s on CNN right now talking about how a school needs donations of toilet paper. TP, guys.

    Other than selling Detroit to the Japanese under the auspices of rehiring all the people there to work in the new Toyota electric car factories, I can’t think of any way for that place to be improved.

    Perhaps if some enterprising young telecommuters were to buy up several blocks and relocate? The telecommuters would be getting their checks from elsewhere, and eventually would want to buy a chai latte, which necessitates coffeehouses, which necessitates workers…

  38. BadKittyM says:

    Kobie – well, if only it were that easy. Thing is, if you take out a loan on a place, you are not going to get rewarded by getting the property for free provided you just don’t make any payments. It isn’t going to revert to the owner before that, as they already sold it and got their money. The loser is the bank that wrote the loan. It reverts to them, and now they are screwed.

    Properties so damaged (usually burned out) that they are a complete loss, stand absolutely no chance whatsoever of being sold by the bank at anything resembling a percentage of the original loan amount. I’m generalizing here, but that is crudely how it works. They may actually try to sell higher than market, which is why if you go to a RE site for Detroit, you will see burnouts in awful areas being offered at 15-60k even right alongside similar properties for 2k. Over time the price continues to drop until the bank is damn near willing to give them away (but not to the former owner) just to clear it from inventory.

    Let’s say for the sake of conversation, that they DID give it back to the person who got foreclosed on. Now that person who couldn’t pay their mortgage for 6 months, is supposed to come up with enough money to fix the place to code and pay the back taxes? No way. These properties don’t find buyers, because the folks who still live in the area certainly don’t want the headache and cost of rehabbing…IF they could afford it. Better to save what money you do have, and move to a better area.

    It’s a vicious circle, honestly. In many areas nature IS taking back the land. There are overgrown, lushly green pockets all over Detroit where you would least expect to find them, and more growing every day.

  39. Anonymous says:

    You wonder why the people that used to live in the houses and got kicked-out don’t buy them at these discount prices and move back in….

  40. Anonymous says:

    Are there any examples on Google Maps’ street view so we can see some of this?

  41. BadKittyM says:

    Robin Hood mentions the kicker, though many might not have really noticed. $500 quickly blossoms into many thousands when you have to – literally – replace a third or more of the house’s vitals to actually get it to code, plus the guaranteed-to-have-gone-unpaid property taxes, usually a few years’ worth. If you decide not to rehab, you must pay for a teardown and haulaway, and those are *not* cheap.

    Then on top of everything, the $500 properties in no way are located anywhere you would EVER want to live; not at this time at least. If a person had a lot of disposable income, it would be an interesting experiment to pick up a few entire neighborhoods, have the junk houses demolished and the dietrus hauled away and then sit on the property about…oh, 20 years and see what happens. Yeah, it would still be land in the worst parts of Detroit, but…who knows. At worst, one could deed their children/grandchildren an interesting inheritance.

  42. Drew from Zhrodague says:

    Pittsburgher here. Hot neighborhoods (SoSide Flats for one) have $300k condos, and people are trying to gentrify certain areas. I’m kinda lusting over some of the older and gigantic brick buildings in the ghetto, but few of them are for sale.

    We got ours, with a view of the City, at just over $40k, though it hadn’t been updated since 1968 — knob-and-tube wiring, plaster/lathe, etc. You can buy a house for $5k if you’re willing to put some effort into it. Otherwise, there are plenty of refits for just over $100k.

    There’s fun things to do here, and housing is very cheap, unless you just *have* to live in an upscale neighborhood. There isn’t critical masses of people like there is in SF or Boston, though.

  43. Scuba SM says:

    I’m surprised at the number of Michiganders on here, and especially from the Metro area. I hadn’t realized there were that many of us reading this site.

    One of the ways that these abandoned houses get “taken care of” in Detroit is Devil’s night. For as long as I can remember, every year there’d be a fair number of fires. They’ve really been trying hard to stop that from happening, and they have met with some success.

    And with regards to the corruption described above, don’t forget that the (ex)mayor was recently tossed in the slammer.

    The city, county, and a lot of their citizens have been cinching their belts for a long time already. I don’t know how much longer they can keep it up.

  44. jetsetsc says:

    How does one un-develop land? As these cities shrink, and the real value of certain properties approaches zero, at what point does it make sense to abandon neighborhoods to nature?

  45. BadKittyM says:

    Pittsburgh is really nice. That is one seriously pretty town.

    No, I did not bump my head getting out of bed. Anyone who has been there will say the same, and the town is laid out well.

  46. mazerrackham says:

    If they had offered this deal to the people who foreclosed in the first place they probably wouldn’t have had to leave their home.

  47. dculberson says:

    Most (if not all) of the sellers of the cheap houses in Detroit require you to sign an ACR. That is an Acceptance of Compliance and Responsibility form requiring you to bring all systems up to code within six months. That requires permits, licensed contractors for some of the work, inspections, etc. It’s very expensive. Thus $500 quickly becomes $50,000.

    You could do it more cheaply if you did a lot of the work, but you would have to bust your but to do a total rehab in six months on your own. Plus some work requires a license in Detroit; For example, I believe plumbing and electrical do.

    Tearing the houses down would probably work, but is also not very cheap. Plus then you’re left with empty land in a ghetto that you have to maintain or pay to have maintained. (Trash removal, lawn mowing, etc.)

  48. knifie_sp00nie says:

    Why don’t we bus a bunch of homeless up there and let them squat the properties? Just turn all of Detroit into a (formerly) homeless metropolis.

  49. gredux says:

    Another problem you’ll have is Auto Insurence. The cost to insure a vehicle in Detroit is ridiculously high.

  50. Patrick Austin says:

    Detroit started out pretty sprawly and then it lost more than half its population of almost 2 million. There’s no way to police that much land filled with empty buildings, and there’s no way to keep up that much infrastructure with no tax base.

    There’s no reason to move a business to Detroit when there’s tons of cheap real estate sitting empty due to the collapsed economy. And why would you want to build where you’re almost guaranteed to need to do massive environmental remediation in most of the city?

    The people that are left are 84% African American, while the surrounding suburbs are 80% white. That doesn’t exactly make the suburbs play nice with the city.

    The city hasn’t caught a break in 50 years and there’s no other place with the same sort of disinvestment in North America. $1000 homes are no surprise at all.

  51. Master Gracey says:

    ariadneallan Said:

    where are those 7,500,000 people living? That’s 2.5% of the population.

    You seem to be assuming that all the forclosures were for famileis of five, I contend many were investment properties (in some areas “investors” were buying multiple properties in hopes of making their fortune flipping the houses) and the average family size is much smaller when you consider investment properties…

    Anyway, those that find themselves forclosed upon aren’t neccessarily homeless – for many it is the result of a decision to stop paying for a house they can either no longer afford OR that is so underwater that they’ll never recoup their losses.

  52. Brad S. says:

    @9 “Anonymous”

    I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit. I have every right to say what I did. The city owes me a debt of gratitude for trying to make light of a very serious statement. Detroit has a cancer. Instead of trying to cure the city, those in local government keep feeding it cigarettes and the general populace holds the lighter.

    It can be argued that the city has made improvements. Yay for them. Almost all the improvements have been to the benefit of those living in the suburbs, shielded from the day-to-day life of the city itself. If real change is desired, the focus would be on those who need help the most. Instead, the downtown area is revamped, casinos, theaters, and stadiums are built, and the city’s general populace continues to rot away.

    You want to live there? Enjoy. But your naive assessment of the lifestyle choices of Detroit residents doesn’t go unnoticed… You want to be rich and snobby? Room for you here. Want to be a deadbeat? Room for you, too! I’m sure people voluntarily choose to buy a house in a shot-up neighborhood and plan to use Detroit’s poor excuse for a public transportation system on a daily basis.

    @4 Purly

    A great show that illustrates the condition of the city’s neighborhoods is, interestingly enough, Animal Cops: Detroit. They don’t intentionally focus on the poor conditions, but it’s easy to see how much trouble most of the residents are in. Those homes where the investigators spend hours in jumpsuits and masks, pulling 100 feral cats out of their own castles of fecal matter? Yeah, those are the homes you can buy for cheap. If it’s not those, it’s the ones next door – the homes with no windows and a year-old pile of the former resident’s belongings rotting on the curb. My wife always gets a chuckle out of the cinematography, as the cameraman pans slowly past the impossibly large pile of garbage on one lawn as they shift their attention to the investigators of the show, visiting the house next door.

  53. buddy66 says:

    Flint, Michigan checking in…

    YOU DON’T WANT TO LIVE IN THOSE HOUSES IN THOSE NEIGHBORHOODS!!

    This is my hometown, I grew up here. But I lived for almost 50 years on the left coast: LA, SF, Portland. I’m back here for personal and unavoidable reasons. If not for those, I wouldn’t come within a thousand miles of this shithole.

    It’s heartbreaking to see.

  54. Steaming Pile says:

    #19 – in Utica, New York, after a spate of arson that made the national news (about 1997), what the city eventually did was assume control of, condemn, and demolish abandoned properties (many of which were burnt-out shells) once their tax arrears had gone on long enough. One year, an engineer unit of the New York National Guard got to spend the summer tearing these places down. Once the lots were cleared, many of them got sold to neighbors, who welcomed the opportunity to enlarge the size of their yards, which tended to be postage-stamp size. If there were enough of them adjoining each other, they would get sold to developers or made into parks.

  55. gandalf23 says:

    I was hoping the real estate prices would fall here, but not so. I have seen a few houses in my neighborhood for sale for 60k instead of the 100k they were asking two or three years ago, but I really don’t want to live here forever (I rent now) and the neighborhoods I like are still waaaaay too expensive.

    I looked into buying a few houses in the Como area, as they can be had for <$20k a lot with a house and <$5k without. But I mow some yards down there for a lady that owns several, and just about every time one or more of them has been vandalized since the last time I mowed. One guy that owned a few houses there and rented them out said not to bother, as he has replaced every window in every house he owns more than once, and copper thieves are stealing the wiring and even breaking into the houses and stealing the wiring out of the walls! And then they also smash the toilets and or sinks on their way out! So yeah, low property value is nice and cheap, but ugh, who wants to live there?

  56. buddy66 says:

    All right, Michiganders…

    Two yoopers, Olie and Sven, wreck their snowmobile and end up in Hell. They love it! Cold all their lives, they party amongst the flames. Can’t get to hot for them.

    Pisses the Devil off. The more he pours it on, the harder Olie and Sven party. So he freezes the place, shuts the fires down and piles on the ice. See how they like that, he thinks.

    He checks on them. They’re laughing and dancing, throwing snowballs and whooping it up. The Devil flips! “What is it with you guys?” he roars.

    “Hell is frozen over!” Olie yells.

    “Ay,” Sven shouts, “Dat means da Lions won da Super Bowl!”

  57. ill lich says:

    Hollywood should move in and buy up entire neighborhoods: pre-made movie lots for suburbia scenes (or ghetto scenes if necessary).

  58. gandalf23 says:

    Not sure why my post got chopped. Maybe less than dollar sign breaks something?

    • Antinous says:

      Using < invokes the god of accidental html. You have to code it in as & l t ; but without the spaces in between the symbols.

  59. Master Gracey says:

    knifie_sp00nie said:

    Why don’t we bus a bunch of homeless up there and let them squat the properties? Just turn all of Detroit into a (formerly) homeless metropolis.

    If there were jobs there, the houses wouldn’t be $500-$10,000, and taking a “homeless”[0] person and dropping them in a community with poor schools, rampant crime, and no prospect of getting a job would be a hoorible “feel-good” way to assuage your guilt, but not solve any of their problems, aside from keeping rain and snow off their heads at night, which is worth something, but they would be giving up any chance of breaking out of poverty simply to have a shell of a house in the middle of hell.

    [0] I put homeless in quotes not becuase I think they aren’t homeless, but becuase I feel that “homeless” actually captures more people than just those who can’t afford a house of their own. Addiction, mental problems, no available work, etc. all get lumped under the term Homeless IMHO. When we call someone homeless, we usually mean more than just those folks that simply don’t have a place of permanent shelter (own, rent, or paying mortgage on).

  60. Master Gracey says:

    #62, ANONYMOUS said:

    Take a look at this
    #62 posted by Anonymous , January 9, 2009 4:16 AM Well, the biggest problem is getting a job once you scoop up that house

    Jobs? We don’t need no stinin’ jobs!

    Seriously, I think self-preservation will occupy most of your time, so a job may be out of the question… As others have noted, the cheaper the house the lower circle of Hell it is located in (I suspect).

  61. dacian says:

    are you sure those people aren’t selling their houses for $500 just so the buyer would also inherit all their debt and instalments and whatever else they have on the house?

  62. ariadneallan says:

    I can’t seem to find stats on country wide foreclosures, but I read somewhere that there were roughly a million foreclosures in 2008. This link is a 2008 press release that mentions 8.1 million foreclosures in a 4 year period. So lets say it’s actually 1.5 million in 2008 and the average American family size is 5 people. There are 305,577,250 people in the US as of right now. I know I’m thinking about this simplistically (obviously some of the houses are repurchased, there is over-building, etc, but get the gist here) – where are those 7,500,000 people living? That’s 2.5% of the population. And that doesn’t count any of the previously foreclosed homes that remain vacant.

  63. bcsizemo says:

    I didn’t read all the comments but I’d just like to point out that the house being pictured is not a classic bungalow. In fact that thing is about as generic as prescription drugs from Wal-Mart…

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