Monday, March 31, 2008

Detroit homes sold in bulk

Prices are so low that out-of-state investors are buying Detroit homes in bulk. The Free Press reports that as many as 100 foreclosed homes are sold together to local brokers for "pennies on the dollar." These homes are then resold to out-of-state investors who hope to sell them for significant gain in five to ten years when the market rebounds. In the meantime, they're marketing them as rentals.

The city needs to monitor this. Huge swaths of Detroit will soon be managed by out-of-state landlords with no knowledge of the city. That could be disastrous. But who knows, they may prove better landlords than the despicable local slumlords who flip owner-occupied homes to rentals and then let them crumble because they assume the property will be worthless in the future. Out-of-staters don't share the same biases that locals harbor against the city; they may actually care about the longterm value of the homes they buy.

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