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CoffeeCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 04:10 PM
Original message
Detriot House Auction Flops for Urban Wasteland
Source: Reuters via Yahoo

DETROIT (Reuters) In a crowded ballroom next to a bankrupt casino, what remains of the Detroit property market was being picked over by speculators and mostly discarded.

After five hours of calling out a drumbeat of "no bid" for properties listed in an auction book as thick as a city phone directory, the energy of the county auctioneer began to flag.

"OK," he said. "We only have 300 more pages to go."

There was tired laughter from investors ready to roll the dice on a city that has become a symbol of the collapse of the U.S. auto industry, pressures on the industrial middle-class and intractable problems for the urban poor.

On the auction block in Detroit: almost 9,000 homes and lots in various states of abandonment and decay from the tidy owner-occupied to the burned-out shell claimed by squatters.

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20091025/us_nm/us_usa_housin...



Sad...very sad.
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notadmblnd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 04:15 PM
Response to Original message
1. what's sad is the number of slum lords swooping in to buy up properties.
the homeless don't stand a chance of obtaining housing via auctions.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 04:22 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. They should start giving them away
What the hell. Let people try to have a go. What could it possibly hurt.
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Psephos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 08:32 PM
Response to Reply #2
23. The problem is not the price.
Maintenance, taxes, and utilities are perpetual expenses of home ownership, even if there's no mortgage. Beyond financial resources, one must also have a set of skills and attitudes that support ongoing responsibility.

Absent these resources, a homeless person given a "free" house will still be homeless.
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Sirveri Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-26-09 04:39 AM
Response to Reply #23
26. Having a roof is better than not. Otherwise squatters wouldn't exist.
Give 'em away, if people want to pay utilities on them, so be it, heck give them to renters, then they can keep more of their income.
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Psephos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-26-09 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. Actually, having a roof like that is worse than not.
No utilities, no furniture, no appliances, no money to fund repairs, no home-owner skill set, no sense of connection between what happens today and what happens next year.

Under such conditions, the house rapidly becomes a midden pile, a health hazard, an invitation to thieves, and a vortex sucking down the values of adjacent properties. It provides no revenue to the city, only costs. It fixes nothing and worsens many things.

Homelessness is not the root problem, it's the outward result of a deeper problem. If we don't address the root problem, no fix is possible.
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JonQ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 04:22 PM
Response to Original message
3. I wonder if the city is worth trying to save
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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 04:31 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Someone once said that about New Orleans.
the comment was NOT well received.




Tansy Gold
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JonQ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. I know I said that
as well. But that's off topic.

Cities exist primarily for economic reasons. They are places of trade, manufacturing, shipping, banking, commerce and so on. People move to them seeking jobs and move away when the jobs are gone, so obviously the main function is to provide jobs and create wealth.

If they don't serve one of those purposes then efforts should not be made on a national level to maintain them.
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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 04:57 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. Cities are also homes to people. Real flesh and blood people who
may once have been workers in the industries of commerce and who, with the flight of their jobs to places to which they themselves cannot go, are left behind by the gods of industy.

To see all things only through the lens of commerce, of profit, of dollars and cents and what puts more of them in YOUR pocket is the hallmark of an unrepentant corporatist, and one who has no appreciation for the non-commercial, meaning the human and/or the beautiful.

Nuff said by





Tansy Gold
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JonQ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Quick question
why do you suppose so many people moved to detroit initially (letting it become a large city)?
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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 05:34 PM
Response to Reply #11
17. Quick question
why do you suppose so many industries developed there?

Please note that I wrote it is -- in only my very most humble opinion -- a corporatist attitude to see things "only" through the lens of commerce.

I don't pretend to deny that jobs brought people to Detroit in the 20th century. Or that industrial production was made possible in the entire Midwest -- I'm a native Chicagoan, by the way -- due to abundance of resources (iron ore, coal, timber) and a sufficient workforce. Which is why so many industries have moved OUT of the Detroit area -- they're going where the cheap people are rather than the other way 'round.

The underlying point of "saving Detroit" or even "saving New Orleans" or for that matter "saving Texas" is that one needs to look at the reasons for the decline and what they say about our civilization. Ours is apparently a truly corporatist culture, where profits matter MUCH more than people, more than art, more than happiness, in some cases more than life. (Those who would and do kill themselves rather than give up their riches.)

If you see Detroit as only an assemblage of factories that are no longer operating and producing profit for the stockholders, then yeah, I guess you'd say Detroit ain't worth savin'.

If you see Detroit instead as the Detroit Symphony, Motown, the Pistons (formerly of Fort Wayne, Indiana, but who cares about Fort Wayne either?), the Tigers, the (hapless) Lions, Greenfield Village, Greektown, and its hundreds of other non-commercial aspects, then you're beginning to look at the people rather than the profits.

In this modern world, people need jobs. Part of "saving Detroit" is bringing back jobs. If that means cutting the dividends of the stockholders and/or cutting the salaries of the top-tier management, then I'm all for it.

Many many years ago, I bought a board game at Spencer's in Fort Wayne called "Beat Detroit." The object was to get your little game piece car around the board five times -- the equivalent of 50,000 miles -- without breaking down or going broke, you "won."



Maybe we need a new game, "Save Detroit."

(Photo above is from a website, but I still have mine, and it's in better condition than the one listed.)

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JonQ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 11:17 PM
Response to Reply #17
25. So it is our job as a nation to maintain cities
Edited on Sun Oct-25-09 11:18 PM by JonQ
out of pocket that cannot sustain themselves, out of a sense of nostalgia the people living there feel (those that haven't already moved on)? I will have to disagree with that.

Otherwise there are thousands of little towns out west that faltered after the gold rush ended that should have been propped up. Sure they don't serve any purpose, but people like it there and they shouldn't have to move just because the jobs are gone.

Sitting around lamenting that the jobs are gone is not a viable option.

No doubt many areas were hurt when the covered wagon industry collapsed. I imagine though they moved on.
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JNelson6563 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-26-09 07:30 PM
Response to Reply #17
28. Nice.
Great stuff about the once fair city of Detroit. Left out our beloved Red Wings but otherwise damn good.

Cheers,
Julie
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handmade34 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 10:58 PM
Response to Reply #11
24. After the Civil War... people moved north for jobs

Detroit grew during the early 20th century thanks to the Great Migration people from the rural South seeking better jobs and better schools in the urban North. But the same aspirations that lured them into the city in earlier generations are driving them out of it today. http://www.mackinac.org/article.aspx?ID=6971

The story of Detroit during the 20th century is a story of growth and intra-region migration. The metropolitan area grew from 500 thousand people to over 4.8 million people during the 100 years

Detroit's population grew dramatically between 1850 and 1950. The city's industrial growth was a magnet for migrants, at first chiefly European immigrants and later blacks from the South. The population has declined steadily since the mid-1950s, however, in part because much of the white community moved to the suburbs and also because of the loss of industry. By the early 1990s, some three-fourths of the population was black.

Detroit has a diversified manufacturing and shipping base, but the city's economy remains unusually sensitive to the fortunes of the automotive industry. As a result, economic booms and depressions have been felt more heavily in Detroit than in most areas of the country. In addition to motor vehicles and automotive parts, the city's factories produce machinery (including industrial robots), steel, and chemicals; the service industry has become increasingly important.

http://www.bookrags.com/eb/detroit-eb/
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Barack_America Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 04:53 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. And I don't give a shit if Texas secedes.
It's worthless to us anyway.

Can you pinpoint which efforts to "save Detroit" you find unworthy? How does the situation in Detroit affect you at all, other than providing you a region of the country to be superior to and scornful of?
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JonQ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 04:57 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Well if we end up spending federal
dollars on it's rebuilding then it would effect me through taxes.

Also we're kind of a like, one country you know? So people should care about what goes on in other states.

For instance, did you have this "mind your own business, it's not in my state so why should I bother to care?" attitude during katrina?

People put way to much of their pride in to believing the spot where they live is the greatest on earth and that it will continue forever to be that great. It's a city, a place where people go to work, nothing more. The jobs are gone, so move on. People didn't move their initially because they just loved how awesome the city was, they moved their because there was work. Period, end of story.
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Barack_America Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 05:06 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. The entire South receives more in federal spending than they pay in...
...with no major industrial or financial centers to show for it.

Should we just brush them off as well? At least Detroit used to be a productive region before the federal tax code for corporations sold its citizens out.

Also, what's the point of decrying federal spending in Detroit when you don't even know if it occurs and what it covers?
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JonQ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 05:14 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. I've often thought the south should be cut off financially
Edited on Sun Oct-25-09 05:15 PM by JonQ
or at least reduced (Texas of course puts in more money than it receives).

I am curious though how much of that amounts to farm subsidies which would explain why it seems to be more common in the south and midwest. If you were to remove those then to make food affordable for the lower classes you would need greater federal spending on the consumer side, which would likely reverse that trend to some degree. And those can be considerable: http://farm.ewg.org/farm/region.php?fips=00000

"Also, what's the point of decrying federal spending in Detroit when you don't even know if it occurs and what it covers?"

I was decrying the potential for future federal spending. So arguing against a hypothetical future. Obviously that would be about something that is not currently happening.

If they're just spending their own money fine, I don't really care. But if (and likely when) it comes to federal dollars than I do care and I have a right to care as a citizen.

Sometimes it's best to realize a losing situation and quit before you put in too much money. Notice we aren't spending billions to try to bring the TV manufacturing industry back.
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mn9driver Donating Member (877 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 04:36 PM
Response to Original message
5. The sharks are buying anything livable by the dozens.
Regular people who are trying to buy something to live in are being shut out. I hope the sharks end up with NOTHING....then regular people may finally be able to start bringing what's left of the city back to life.

Sadly, it will probably take a generation or two to even begin.
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zeemike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 04:53 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. I think it is a return to feudalism.
But unlike the days of old where military power took the land from the people the economic power is buying it for a song and a dance....there are great fortunes to be made in hard times.
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Purveyor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 05:11 PM
Response to Original message
13. Just damn. One needs to read the entire article for context. Sad, indeed! eom
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 05:16 PM
Response to Original message
15. Detroit is in a fantastic location & there are already big pockets investors holding those
Edited on Sun Oct-25-09 05:17 PM by Hannah Bell
burnt-out properties.

The article paints the auction as some kind of failure. There's more to the story.

Detroit, like New orleans, is being ethnically cleansed in preparation for its "revival".

by design, imo.
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The abyss Donating Member (930 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 05:30 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Agree
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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 07:21 PM
Response to Reply #15
22. I think you're absolutely correct.
And I think we'll start seeing more and more similarly engineered demographic shifts if this isn't stopped.



TG
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 05:57 PM
Response to Original message
18. gee, i guess the dismemberment of motor city isn't of national import.
unlike the murders of blondes, whether sex workers enjoy it or not, & other high-priority discussion topics.

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Snarkoleptic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 05:59 PM
Response to Original message
19. First, let me say that I disagree with the mod who moved this to the Places>Michigan Forum.
This story is as much about the nationwide housing collapse as it is a Michigan topic.

Anyhow, Detroit has been in decline for 30+ years and there is a huge housing glut as jobs vaporize.
One example that shocked me when I worked in wholesale lending in the Detroit market was a home that sold for $215K.
It sat on a 1.2 acre lot with mature and well kept plantings.
4400 square foor two story home with a full (unfinished) basement and a partially finished walk-up attic.
The home was build in the 1920's and was in great shape with hardwood floors, pocket doors, build in book cases.
Also, 4 fireplaces, 2 staircases, a 3-season room, butlers pantry, dumbwaiter, huge updated kitchen, etc.

Detroit is the poster-child for how Reaganomics and bogus free trade agreements have hollowed-out our economy.
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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 06:09 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. Let me agree with you
Detroit may well be the canary in the coal mine, as a national economy that was built on good-paying jobs collapses due to greedy corporatists who don't give a shit about anything or anyone but themselves.

Tansy Gold, who has actually been to Detroit (twice)
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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-25-09 07:19 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. For whatever it's worth
I sent alerts to the Mods on two other LBN stories that seemed to be of only "local" interest -- the murder of a priest in New Jersey and the addition of surveillance cameras in Atlanta. If those stories are allowed to remain in LBN then I think this one ought to be returned, too.




Tansy Gold
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1gobluedem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-28-09 07:04 PM
Response to Original message
29. People don't like talking about what has happened to Detroit
It makes them uncomfortable and brings up the whole issue of the trade imbalance, unions, and the dumping of Asian cars into the US in the 80s to gain a foothold in the market. So the topic was probably moved here to avoid that.

I don't want to say there are a lot of Michigan haters on DU but there sure are a lot who don't give a damn what happens to Michigan. I wonder how they'll feel when they need our water?
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