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The median house price of a house in Detroit is now $7,500.
It may be tough to get financing for a new car these days, but in Detroit you can buy a house with a credit card.
The median price of a home sold in Detroit in December was $7,500, according to Realcomp, a listing service.
Not $75,000. Remove a zero—it's seven thousand five hundred dollars, substantially less than the lowest-price car on the new-car market.
Among the many dispiriting numbers that bleakly depict the decrepitude of this onetime industrial behemoth, the steep slide of housing values helps define the daunting challenge to anyone who wants to lead this shrinking, poverty-pocked city of about 800,000 people.[/b]
One-third of the population lives in poverty, and almost 50 percent of children are in poverty, according to data from the Detroit-Area Community Indicators System. Median household income has dropped 24 percent since 2000, according to the Census Bureau.
New York bond-rating houses this month lowered the city's bond rating to junk status, a lowly assessment shared by New Orleans and few others.
On a positive note, Detroit's homicide rate dropped 14 percent last year. That prompted mayoral candidate Stanley Christmas to tell the Detroit News recently, "I don't mean to be sarcastic, but there just isn't anyone left to kill."
Detroit, which has lost half its population in the past 50 years, is deceptively large, covering 139 square miles. Manhattan, San Francisco and Boston could, as a group, fit inside the city's boundaries. There is no major grocery chain in the city, and only two movie theaters. Much of the neighborhood economy revolves around rib joints, hot dog stands and liquor stores.
The problem is more than a $300 million budget shortfall, said John Mogk, a professor at Wayne State University Law School.
"A thousand people are leaving the city every month," Mogk said, "and the city does not have the financial resources and the economic base to solve its own problems."
To be sure, progress has been made downtown: two new sports stadiums, a reinvigorated neighborhood around Wayne State and new lofts and casinos. But unlike Pittsburgh, which successfully reinvented itself after the decline of Big Steel, Detroit displays only islands of prosperity amid a dismal landscape. Neighborhoods have suffered, and foreclosures have aggravated the long-festering ill of abandoned homes.
"A lack of vision has held us back," said Nicholas Hood III, another mayoral candidate. "The auto industry was so dominant—too dominant—and we never prodded ourselves and the business community to a more expansive vision."
To the surprise of many in this overwhelmingly black city (82 percent), only 53 percent of registered voters turned out for November's presidential election, which featured the first African-American nominee.
Well holy shit. Some of this stuff is mind boggling.
This is a fairly impressive disaster of a city. The implosion of big steel after the categorical removal of subsidies, tariffs and quotas within the auto-industry has left the city absolutely fucked. The automobile industry was systematically unable to adapt to changes in the marketplace, and this largely doomed the city's economy.
The question is, how do you go about fixing an entire city? The obvious problems are the lack of a strong economic base coupled with falling population levels due to white flight (although presumably it's not only white people leaving anymore).