Does anyone know anything about housing values in Detroit? Of particular interest are empty lots.

Victor Niederhoffer writes: 

30 bucks will get you a good abandoned big home without the copper. Reason has a very good video on the bargains among the abandoned and its causes from excessive service rates and unionization. Chicago is the next Detroit I'm told.

David Lilienfeld writes:

I ask because a good friend of mine, a little older, is an ophthalmologist who bought four adjacent lots off of Woodward (?) near the center of town. The cost was practically nothing. Two of the lots are empty, the other two have abandoned homes (he compared them to Ridgely's Delight (in Baltimore) in the 1960s–that area of the city was in pretty poor shape at that time. The lots themselves are "big". Marty's thinking of when he can turn his practice over to his son and retire. (I can't picture Marty retired. The man runs on adrenaline and his great rapport with his patients. He would have gone into cardiology, but he thought ophthalmologists were paid more and didn't have to work as hard–leaving him time for his woodworking and a bunch of other hobbies.) He hopes to build a "large" house on the property sometime in the next 5-10 years as a summer home. I think he's crazy, but given his investing record, which is pretty good, I have to wonder if he's just really early, nuts, or onto something. Hence, my question.

GM and Ford do seem to be on the rebound, though. What's on the rebound in Chicago, except for gun sales?

Ralph Vince writes: 

I imagine it is much like Cleveland, where you can buy property for the back taxes owed. Young people not taking advantage of this are silly.

The mineral rights under most of these places, eventually, exceeds the cost





Speak your mind

4 Comments so far

  1. Bill Brauer on February 19, 2013 6:24 pm

    Chicago is a far cry from Detroit, with thousands of downtown condos built over the last decade and many gentrified or shall we say yuppified neighborhoods. The gang violence is generally confined to gang turf. It does face challenges from unfunded pensions and Mayior Daley sold off the parking revenue for 25 years hence to balance the budget in his last years providing bread and circus. It does seem Chicago will wake up in time.

  2. Ed on February 22, 2013 3:58 pm

    Chicago is actually a very nice, livable city if you follow the non-pc rules that apply in any American city.

    Lots of near-loop neighborhoods that were not to long ago ghetto-disaster zones have been fully gentrified. However, I rent rather than buy partly because one bad mayor could literally flush the progress down the toilet. If they do something which triggers white flight, the city will go the way of Detroit in short order.

    I read that some of the suburbs are now suffering, as when the famous Cabrini projects and similar where knocked down,their inhabitants were distributed to formerly family-friendly areas with good schools.

  3. david higgs on February 26, 2013 12:35 pm

    Forbes has a great and telling list of the 20 most miserable cities in USA. Sad that all those houses are being torn down and all that good lumber going to waste……could be a gov salvage program, but it easier to give out food stamps…..oh funny line about the copper….very true.

  4. pp on March 11, 2013 6:45 pm


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