First, remember, Detroit tried to save itself with Casinos and slots. Did not work. last I heard, at least one of those casinos was in bankruptcy court.
Next I heard, houses are going for $100-$2000.00. These are structurally sound, brick buildings that sold for $75,000 – $100,000 or more less than five years ago.
Mind you, I am not crying for Detroit over this, because some stunning changes are gaining ground, and may result, as well as opportunity for those willing to work hard, without any stimulus or bailout money whatsoever at issue.
Two other guests that night, a couple in from Chicago, had also just invested in some Detroit real estate. That weekend Jon and Sara Brumit bought a house for $100.
Ah, the mythical $100 home. We hear about these low-priced “opportunities” in down-on-their-luck cities like Detroit, Baltimore and Cleveland, but we never meet anyone who has taken the plunge. Understandable really, for if they were actually worth anything then they would cost real money, right? Who would do such a preposterous thing?
A local couple, Mitch Cope and Gina Reichert, started the ball rolling. An artist and an architect, they recently became the proud owners of a one-bedroom house in East Detroit for just $1,900. Buying it wasn’t the craziest idea. The neighborhood is almost, sort of, half-decent. Yes, the occasional crack addict still commutes in from the suburbs but a large, stable Bangladeshi community has also been moving in.
So what did $1,900 buy? The run-down bungalow had already been stripped of its appliances and wiring by the city’s voracious scrappers. But for Mitch that only added to its appeal, because he now had the opportunity to renovate it with solar heating, solar electricity and low-cost, high-efficiency appliances.
Buying that first house had a snowball effect. Almost immediately, Mitch and Gina bought two adjacent lots for even less and, with the help of friends and local youngsters, dug in a garden. Then they bought the house next door for $500, reselling it to a pair of local artists for a $50 profit. When they heard about the $100 place down the street, they called their friends Jon and Sarah.
Admittedly, the $100 home needed some work, a hole patched, some windows replaced. But Mitch plans to connect their home to his mini-green grid and a neighborhood is slowly coming together.
Now, three homes and a garden may not sound like much, but others have been quick to see the potential. A group of architects and city planners in Amsterdam started a project called the “Detroit Unreal Estate Agency” and, with Mitch’s help, found a property around the corner. The director of a Dutch museum, Van Abbemuseum, has called it “a new way of shaping the urban environment.” He’s particularly intrigued by the luxury of artists having little to no housing costs. Like the unemployed Chinese factory workers flowing en masse back to their villages, artists in today’s economy need somewhere to flee.
As John D said, some are going to get rich due to the collapsing economy around us. Those with the skills and energy to go into the Detroit housing market may well be among them.
The current “median price” for a three bedroom home in Detroit is $7500.00. See: http://www.usnews.com/blogs/th…
Could this happen in Springfield? In parts of Boston? It is really important to save the jobs we have, and the neighborhoods we have.
As a girl scout, I sang “Make new friends, but keep the old”.
Now, to the same melody, I sing “Make new jobs, but keep the old; one is silver and the other is gold.”