$1 Homes Offered in Crime-Stricken Neighborhoods of American City Raise Gentrification and Violence Concerns

 Homes Offered in Crime-Stricken Neighborhoods of American City Raise Gentrification and Violence Concerns

With housing affordability near its lowest level in over 40 years due to high mortgage rates and housing prices, being able to buy a home for $1 can seem impossible.

However, the city of Baltimore is offering an offer designed to attract new buyers. It’s practically giving away houses.

There are an estimated 13,000 vacant homes in Baltimore, with the city owning about 1,000.

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So far, 200 of these properties have been approved to be marketed to Baltimore residents who commit to both living there and fixing them up, with city officials saying the properties in the program are within the the most “stressed” real estate markets in the city.

The program was approved over the objections of City Council President Nick Mosby, who said the new policy left him “deeply concerned.”

“If affordability and homeownership and affordable home equity and all the fancy words we like to use are really at the heart of property disposition skills, this is very bad policy …because it does not protect or prioritize the rights of people in these communities,” Mosby said.

Other city officials rejected that characterization, pointing out that there is a 90-day window that gives Baltimore residents the right to buy before outsiders are allowed to make offers.

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It should be noted that the $1 deal is not available to everyone, but only to individual buyers and community land trusts. Still, developers would only have to pay $3,000, which could pave the way for significant profits if home values ​​in those areas rise.

While the ability to get a home for $1 may make it seem like anyone could participate in the city’s offerings, a potential buyer must be able to afford the costs necessary to make many of these homes vacant safe to live in.

To help with this initiative, the city also provides home repair grants of up to $50,000 to those pre-qualified for a construction loan.

Resident Maurice Brock warned of the dangers of these properties, telling WJZ TV in Baltimore: “There are so many risks and dangers associated with these vacant properties…it’s a definite risk to the safety of citizens, city employees and firefighters.”

Given that Baltimore City consistently ranks among the top five U.S. cities most affected by violent crime, safety concerns are well-founded, especially since these properties are already in some of the toughest neighborhoods in the city.

Potential homeowners or investors looking to invest in real estate without having to worry about owning the actual property may consider purchasing shares of real estate investment trusts (REITs) or purchasing shares in a fund such as Vanguard Real Estate Index Fund ETF (NYSE:VNQ), which invests in a diversified basket of REITs.

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