Is there a housing shortage in Detroit?

Occupancy rates are extremely high in certain parts of the Motor City.
Written by Tyler Falk, Contributor

With tens of thousands of vacant houses and empty lots and a dwindling population, the last problem you'd expect Detroit to have is a housing shortage.

But that's exactly what the city is experiencing in certain parts of the city. At Citiwire, Curtis Johnson lays out the scene:

Midtown has become a magnet for young and mid-career professionals. Their search for housing is colliding with 96 percent occupancy rates, which Sue Mosey of Midtown, Inc. calls a “very tight market.” For a while, some businesses (under the Live Midtown push) were offering $25,000 grants to employees who would buy in Midtown. That soaked up some of the supply, Mosey said. And while the pipeline seems clogged with demand, the supply is not keeping up. On the sober side of the credit meltdown, banks became wary of funding housing projects. “You had to look at very creative formulas, often involving foundations or corporate support, or you had a gap you couldn’t fill,” she said.


So will supply ever catch up to demand in Midtown and downtown? “Not for a long time,” says James Van Dyke of the Roxbury Group, which is about to open the Auburn, with 58 apartments, plus retail on the ground floor. Van Dyke recalls that a dozen years ago studies showed demand outstripping supply by 5000 units just in downtown. “We’d have to produce a 1000 new units a year to even begin to reach that number. And we’re nowhere near that yet.”

Of course, this is only one part of the city -- albeit an important one. If Detroit is going to turn around its dismal housing market, with median home prices around $10,000, this will be a good start. It's definitely one of the city's better problems.

Source: Housing Shortages in Detroit? (Citiwire)

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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