Angry Robot

Opportunities Abound in Post-Apocalyptic Real Estate

Via the funk comes a link that led to some interesting shit – this thread on Ask MeFi, in which the existence of houses for sale for the low four figures in Detroit and elsewhere, and the merits of purchasing same, are discussed. Up here in Canada the average house price is $300,000, so this was a jaw-dropper. Various points against such properties are discussed in the thread, but none says it as effectively as the keen eye of the lonely satellite:

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These properties are in abandoned neighbourhoods, where most of the houses have been razed by the city, and those that remain have been stripped of their guts by scavengers. Your $3,000 buys a plot of land in The Road by Cormac McCarthy. This related thread on BoingBoing brings up a nugget of hope, which is “this house in an apparently decent, still-peopled area of Detroit”: – a five bedroom mansion for $57,900. That’s not to say it will actually gain value, which is an assumption we Canadians are used to making about pretty much all property. But it did spur a decent daydream, in which I purchase four mansions for the price of one tiny condo in Toronto.

If you really want to understand what’s going on in Detroit, you have to read this article from Harpers. Fortunately or un-, where Detroit has gone, may other North American cities will go, as we wade into the bleak seas of the post-industrial, post-car economy (post-economy?). The article ends optimistically, with farms sprouting from the slums. You could imagine that in a possible future, where the 50s flight of white people to the suburbs has been eclipsed by the flight of all people to the internet, and one’s physical place of work and residence has been rendered insignificant, these rubbly fields could again see houses built. Why pay big money downtown when you can do that work from a dirt-cheap dirt field in Detroit. But in the meantime, there are better things for the thousandaire to spend their money on.