Monday, January 26, 2009

what leftist policies have done to Detroit


How low can homes go? Try $0
By Al Lewis | Dow Jones Newswires
Posted: 01/18/2009 12:30:00 AM MST



Detroit real estate agent Ian Mason has sold homes for $1.

When I asked him to check the listings for other properties at that price, he found four more.

He then took me to a white, clapboard-sided house that his company, Bearing Group Real Estate Brokerage, has listed.

"If you want this house, you can have it," he said. "I'll just give it to you."

"I'm not allowed to accept anything of value from a source," I told him.

"Who said I was giving you anything of value?" he replied.

Earlier in the day, I'd previewed the North American International Auto Show, where the car of the year was a Hyundai. A Hyundai Genesis, to be precise, with an MSRP of $37,250. Here, even a Kia or a Pontiac listed for $16,000.

By contrast, the median price of a home sold in Detroit last month was $7,500, according to Realcomp, a Farmington Hills, Mich., multiple-listing service, down 50 percent from last year.

Mason counted 1,228 homes listed for under $10,000, 209 of which were under $1,000.

"Many of them are in pretty decent shape," he said, "and some can be lived in."

At the auto show, I had sat inside a 2009 Maybach with a list price of more than $526,000. I had no idea that for the price of this car, I could own entire blocks of the city outside.

In the neighborhood where Mason offered me a $0 house (not including closing costs, escrow, taxes, etc.), almost every dwelling was in shambles. Boarded windows. Abandoned cars. Collapsed porches. Ubiquitous graffiti.

The home across the street was charred, likely by arsonists.

We drove through snow nobody would ever plow.

"What's this place like in the summer?" I asked.

"You wouldn't be driving through here," Mason said. "There's a small chance you'd field a bullet."

Police stopped patrolling these neighborhoods years ago.

"So if I buy a $1 house, I'm going to need to hire some security?"

"Not necessarily," Mason said. "Some of these neighborhoods are so desolate, crime isn't much of a concern."

"Really?"

"I could take you to 30 square blocks of urban prairie."

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