Vacancy Solution: Tear it Down?

photo credit: Fought70

Remember the recent multi-billion dollar bank settlement?  Payments are about to be made, and states are figuring out what to do with the money.  In Ohio, about $75 million will be targeted at abandoned homes; specifically, tearing them down.

This might sound shocking, but it’s not unusual.  Many cities have used tear-down programs to deal with blight, neighborhood decline, and excess housing stock.  All of these things have been common urban experiences during the past several years.

Why not save the homes?  Sometimes, it’s just a economic question.  If the cost of repairing the home is greater than the cost of tearing it down, most cities opt for demolition.  Other issues include crimes that occur in abandoned homes, as well as the negative pressure on surrounding property values.

NPR’s Morning Edition did an excellent 4-minute segment on Ohio’s program.  I’d recommend giving it a listen if you’re interested how cities deal with property abandonment.

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5 thoughts on “Vacancy Solution: Tear it Down?

  1. Michael Hankinson says:

    Not the same (an abandoned warehouse v. abandoned home), but I thought this sad news was appropriate.

    http://www.woodtv.com/dpps/news/national/northeast/2-firefighters-killed-in-philly-warehouse-fire-nt12-jgr_4133778

    The properties need to be maintained. If the owner won’t do it, the city needs to make a move either way (and I don’t see the budget surplus necessary shoulder a depressed market).

  2. Ben says:

    Wow – I hadn’t seen this yet. But a great example of vacancy hazards. It’s a economic quandary though… costs of construction are high, demand is low, the city’s system for issuing code violations is horribly backlogged… what’s your economic imperative to improve the property? Do you think better building code enforcement would help encourage “good” behavior?

  3. […] reasons to be pessimistic about the housing market.  Tight credit markets, overbuilt supply, and high vacancy rates are just a few things I’ve covered.  Before you lose all confidence, let’s consider a […]

  4. […] housing isn’t just an negative economic indicator, it’s also a hazard to the households who are left behind.  It’s a classic externality problem: the property […]

  5. […] he’s encountered there was a lot more demolition.  We’re not talking about total tear-downs, but we are talking about massive renovations on homes are long overdue for […]

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