Detroit's $1,000 Homes

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There are homes for sale in Detroit with prices set at $1,000. And there are a lot of them. The Detroit Land Bank Authority adds more homes to this list every day.

Homes with a base price of $1,000 are auctioned to the highest bidder. New owners must “rehab” the homes and be occupied when the rehab is finished. The home must have a furnace, utilities, working kitchens, and bathrooms as part of the rehab. The rehabilitation costs more than the home itself.

The Detroit Land Bank was started in 2008. It has failed in terms of its franchise. It has 8,285 structures in inventory and 63,053 vacant lots. Since the program started in 2014, it has sold less than 20,000 homes, or “structures,” as it calls them.

One of the program’s challenges is that many of the homes for auction are in areas where very few people want to live. These neighborhoods have many homes that are not occupied, Most are miles away from the downtown area of Detroit along the river. This downtown area of Detroit is the only part of the city that has been entirely rebuilt.

Detroit remains a trainwreck of a city. Its population of 620,000 is down by well over half since it peaked in 1950. Car companies have mostly abandoned it, as many businesses have. The median household income is less than half the national number. A total of 32% of the population lives in poverty.

One reason Detroit cannot audition off many of the city’s most dilapidated homes is that so few people want to live in the city at all.

Also check out: these are the American cities with the most million-dollar homes.


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