House fire sale


If a house was placed on the market for 53 pence how long would it take to sell? I think it might take slightly less than the 19 days that this house in the US spent on the market. This home in Detroit was originally on the market for $1,100 but due to a lack of interest and vandalism the bank that owns the property was forced to lower the price to a $1. The bank stands to lose around $10,000 on this home alone.

It’s a common site in parts of Detroit to see houses in rundown conditions, and large pockets of impoverished areas are endemic. And as this house testifies, the respect for property is at a minimum. Perhaps one of the problems is that both local and state taxes are so high. Indeed the woman who purchased the house for a $1 is facing a tax bill of $3,900 for 2009, hardly the best way to incentivize her to invest in the property and improve a small slice of Detroit? And even if she did improve her house how long would it remain in the same condition?

As the fall out to the sub prime mortgage continues Detroit and many other places in the US will have to face up to its associated problems. One can only hope that governments have learnt from the past and that by lowering taxes and removing barriers to allow people to trade will lessen the impact. It’s difficult to see that happening in cash-strapped Michigan but elsewhere government could offer hope to its citizens.