Houses for $100?

The Con

One of the ongoing complaints heard throughout the country is that of fiscal irresponsibility by lending institutions.  Just how could they give all that credit/mortgage money to just anyone?  Didn’t they know these people weren’t qualified and on and on.  Along with those comments are the consistent complaints against the individuals living beyond their means.  Various pundits are pontificating on the subject home ownership and if should really be the dream of every American.   

Well, the flip side of any problem is opportunity and for those that are looking to be homeowners, the opportunity is to be found in none other than my hometown of Detroit.  Sunday’s New York Times Opinion Section ran an editorial by Toby Barlow entitled For Sale: The $100 House.  In the piece, Barlow discussed the criminal state of the infrastructure of the city and how those homes long abandoned in dangerous neighborhoods are becoming a new ‘artists ghetto.’

Admittedly, it’s not like I have been in the city for anything longer than three or four days at a clip.  For the most part, I follow the Detroit’s blight through the pictures on the Fabulous Ruins of Detroit web page.  Honestly I can’t say that I follow that page with much regularity.  It’s just too damn depressing out on the street, I don’t feel the need drive my self to anti-depressant use.  My initial read had my silently cheering that someone, anyone was willing to move back in and try something to revitalize Detroit.  It was only at the end of the editorial that made me nauseous.

You see, the houses are being bought up by artists that don’t just want to live in an ‘artists ghetto’ these folk are trying to turn the very places they live into art.  Barlow claims the city offers a blank canvas for these artists and they are drawn to it. Thusly, these new homeowners take the dilapidated but still viable relics of the beautiful industrial era architecture and add their own special degenerative twist to an area desperately needing a facelift.  Apparently, there is one neighborhood that is covered in shoes and stuffed animals and another that uses old Ford Mustangs as sculptures to reincarnate Egyptian Gods. 

It is bad enough that the once toughest city in the United States is getting touchy feely, I know Mikey Selik is turning over in his grave, but believe it or not, it’s getting weirder.  A couple of Germans want to buy a house and create a two story high beehive.  That very idea scares the living shit out of me.  It might just be sheer paranoia on my part, after all, I am the son of a Holocaust Survivor, but I wonder if it is smart to let any Germans on American soil with any implement that could be used as a weapon.


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