Last week I heard a pair of reports about Detroit on NPR and as usual it hit my soft spot for the Motor City. I spent Saturday morning checking in on Detroit sites (like the incredible parenting/photography/urban living blog Sweet Juniper) and reflecting on the crumbling nature of one of America’s great cities.
You always hear about the ridiculous real estate prices in Detroit (one NPR story mentioned a $500 house) so I decided to see how crazy it the market really is.
While I searched I found listing after listing for beautiful homes for well under $100,000. OK, the mansions were under $100,000, the homes for the rest of us were under $50,000. The home pictured above is a four-bedroom, 2-bath, 2,000-square-foot house built in 1931 on the east side (technically the Morningside neighborhood, but that means nothing to me). The price? $19,900.
I used the mortgage calculator just for kicks (would they even give you a 30-year mortgage for a $20,000 house?). Your mortgage would be $117 per month.
All of which makes me want to move to Detroit.
We’re not moving to Detroit.
But the possibility is kind of intriguing.
I realize the reason these houses are so cheap is the wretched economy in Detroit. Sure, you could move there and get a cheap house, but you’re not going to find a job (unless, like me, your income is not dependent on your geographic location). There are also issues of saftey (you might find a job in the private security industry) and convenience (no Target, WalMart or even a grocery store within city limits). But those might be balanced by food (the locally grown options would make a foodie drool) and artistic green spaces (Art! Trails! Score!).
As Detroit slowly deflates like a day-old balloon, I see possibility rather than just a sad balloon.