Bargain Homes In Detroit: Mansions For A Song

by The Smarter Wallet on April 12, 2009

The real estate bust has been pretty bad news for many of us homeowners, but it’s proven to be a fortuitous turn of events for wannabe homeowners. Not only are they eligible for the first time home buyer credit, they are also privy to great home bargains dotting the nation these days.

The following is a look at some cheap homes around urban Detroit, brought to us by CNN Money. I couldn’t believe how affordable some of these places are. This city looks like one place you can consider if you’re looking for true homeowner affordability.

Cheap Homes In Urban Detroit, For Sale At Fire Sale Prices

1. Corktown Community

Corktown, Michigan

For $130,000, you can own a colonial with 7 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms with a living space of 2,200 square feet. If you apply a 20% down payment, you’ll pay only $560 a month, which includes a property tax of $50 a month. Wow. That’s half what you’d pay for in rent in San Francisco, for a 1 bedroom apartment! Corktown is a residential neighborhood located a mile away from downtown Detroit and is considered one of the oldest areas in that city.

2. Boston-Edison

Boston Edison

When we think of mansions, we think of fancy and swank homes selling for many millions of dollars. But these days, you’ll find homes on palatial grounds going for $375,000 right in Detroit. There’s this example of a 5 bedroom, 3 full and 3 half bath Tudor mansion sized up at 5,700 square feet with the following awesome amenities: a new granite kitchen, game room with wet bar, fireplaces, central A/C, two car garage, steam shower in the master bath, media room with invisible projection screen. The house is massive with marble arches and columns, French doors, crown moldings and a patio, and it’s all for just $375,000? Where’s the catch (don’t say it’s location!)?

3. Palmer Woods

Palmer Woods, Michigan

Almost the same size, but much cheaper, is a 7 bedroom, 4 full and 3 half bath Tudor mansion that’s all of 5,300 square feet, which went into foreclosure for $189,900. You’ll get wood wainscoting, arched ceilings, doorways, fireplaces, built-ins, a library, rec room, deck, patio, workshop, two car garage and did I say more rooms?

4. Woodbridge

Commonwealth, Michigan

For under $100,000 ($99,900 to be exact), you can get an 8 bedroom, 2 bath home for 4,894 square feet Victorian home a few miles from downtown Detroit. It’s a bit of a fixer upper but it has a great foundation. But think about it — if a buyer puts down 20% for home financing, they’ll pay under $450 a month for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage, plus only $1,320 a year in property taxes. What a deal!

5. Hubbard Farms

Hubbard Farms, Michigan

Relatively “pricier” is a 3 bedroom, 2 full and 1 half bath at 2,500 square feet for $179,900. It has great landscaping, hardwood floors, stained glass, crown moldings, fireplaces; and the grounds are well-maintained. Considered a quiet place to live, Hubbard Farms is only a few miles from downtown Detroit with a lot of stores and restaurants close by.

6. Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald, Michigan

So did I read this right? $14,900 for a 5 bedroom, 2 full and 1 half bath home for 1,549 square feet? It’s a Tudor cottage but it’s being sold “as is” as a place that requires some work (it sports some damage). It’s also smack in the middle of Detroit. So fixer uppers in the heart of Detroit cost less than most cars today!

7. University District

University District, Michigan

From what I read, it’s a beautiful area where they have this 5 bedroom, 3 full and 2 half bath limestone Tudor home for 3,953 square feet. The house is going for $295,000 and is located in north-central Detroit (close to University of Detroit – Mercy, which is what the neighborhood is named after). What more, this house is only a block away from a 220 acre private golf and country club.

So would you be willing to move to a new state or new city to partake of these rock-bottom real estate prices? Now THAT is the question. Anyone from Detroit who can tell us what the real estate mood is like over there?

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Millionaire Acts April 12, 2009 at 10:10 pm

How I wish I am living in US and have worked there for quite some time that I had saved enough to buy these houses.

2 Manshu April 13, 2009 at 7:46 pm

SVB, are these too good to be true? I wonder what the neighborhood would be like…these things shouldn’t really be that cheap.

3 SVB April 13, 2009 at 7:53 pm

Yes Manshu, they’re for real. I heard about this going on in Detroit. The reason is that Detroit is a city dependent on the auto industry. So it’s a harder place to live for those needing employment. Also, a lot of people shy away from there due to crime statistics in the area and possibly poor school systems. But if you’re looking to retire (or don’t have kids and don’t have a need to work at a physical location), there could be some areas that may work out.

There are tradeoffs….

4 Monroe on a Budget May 19, 2009 at 2:04 pm

I’m in Monroe, Mich., which is the farthest city south that is still considered part of metro Detroit area.

The examples given are a pretty fair assessment of housing values in the Motor City. The underlying cause is a recession that has lingered longer, and hit southeast Michigan harder, than what many other parts of the country have seen. Government officials and business leaders are trying to diversify the regional economy, but the reality is that domestic auto industry ups and downs have a huge impact on everything.

Now to give a shameless plug for my city: while the home prices here haven’t caved as bad as in Detroit itself, one can easily find a nicer house in Monroe for less than what I paid in 2004 for my home.

Monroe has a “small town” atmosphere, but it acts bigger than you’d think as far as community events, programs and services. There are private schools if you want them, but most families are satisfied with the public schools. We’re about 45 minutes from Detroit, Ann Arbor or Toledo, so one can easily take advantage of big city entertainment and sports. A state park along Lake Erie is in my zip code.

And Detroit Metropolitan Airport is only 20 minutes away.

5 Funny about Money May 22, 2009 at 8:16 am

That’s amazing!

Moi, I wouldn’t move to a place where it snows just to get a cheaper house. But find me one where the weather’s good (say…the south of France?), and it’s outta here in a flash.

I think the problem in Detroit is that you can’t get a job there. These places could be pretty appealing, though, if you were earning a decent living through self-employment or were retired.

Monroe sounds nicer, though. :-D

6 jim miles June 3, 2009 at 9:25 am

i am better than all of you., why would you want a house in detroit?

7 SVB June 3, 2009 at 11:05 pm

Because it’s cheap?

8 tom August 14, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Well i live in Detroit and the reason these houses are so cheap is because of the economy and the quantity of houses on the market; these houses are actually the most expensive in the city, you could easily find a house for $5,000. Detroit is great if you can avoid the rough areas and afford to send your children to private school.

9 Rich November 14, 2009 at 12:17 am

I think Detroit has a future. Some areas are totally gone yet others still can be brought back to health. You need to change to ethnic makeup to do this. Detroit needs more white people to move back and there is a population that will do just that if the deal is right. They don’t generally have children, sizable incomes, professional, full of character and they love to renovate and decorate. You guessed it! The Gay population. They need to be able to feel safe and mostly accepted and when they are watch out.

Check out Key West, London, San Francisco, New York, Amsterdam etc. . Watch the changes! They are currently here already and in towns just North of Detroit. Multi-million dollar Gay community centers and luxury condos in Royal Oak and Ferndale. London’s city council has proclaimed their city as the Gay capitol of Europe. All we need is some help from the city. Think about it. Hell, give them the houses they want for free and tax breaks for awhile and let thousands become homeowners and residents of Detroit. The Arts scene will explode and so will the city into a rainbow of colors.

10 Ray March 11, 2010 at 8:16 am

Keep this in mind: make sure you know the kind of neighbors the area attracts. Nice homes at bargain-basement prices don’t guarantee anything except a cheap house.

11 greg d. April 5, 2010 at 7:57 pm

The article neglects to mention that the yearly taxes are astounding. From $5000-$10000 at least. So many people have left the state (me included) taxes have risen dramatically. I still love Detroit, and wish it prosperous future. See you in October.

12 Robert Nelson May 14, 2010 at 2:03 pm

The reason the houses are so cheap: White Flight. Bottom Line. The School Districts suck. The Superintendent of the DPS is a product of Affirmative Action who CANNOT string together a grammatically correct sentence. Detroit is much like Liberia, A Black Government that hates White people, yet CANNOT function without White People. If you want to purchase a mansion in Detroit just research the crime statistics against White People who dare to venture there. Detroit does not even have one supermarket chain…Why!? Why do you think?

13 Jewelz July 29, 2010 at 2:12 pm

I can’t believe that race is such a huge factor in the Detroit Community, but it is, however the homes that are listed for sale above are in neighborhoods with lots of white people. By the way I live across the street from the most gutter, trailer trash, nastiest white people I’ve ever seen in my life. I don’t say that because they are white, I say it because those are their characteristics. Everyone can say something horrible about their own race but they never do because it’s much easier to point the finger and say, “It ain’t us” when really, what do you mean by “us”! LMAO. If that’s how you are as an individual, the color of your skin has NOTHING to do with your behavior.

14 rev. leon crawford September 8, 2010 at 8:00 am

please send me more listings.. i’m looking for a new home… even properties outside the city.. thank u

15 mac waters May 22, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Some people commenting on an article at the website boing-boing pointed out that you’d need to have the house assessed beforehand since a lot of houses have had their electrical wiring and plumbing ripped out by vandals who sell the copper and metal. if you’re not careful you could accidentally just buy a mere shell instead of a house with full amenities.
http://boingboing.net/2009/03/17/artists-buying-cheap.html

16 nanski May 31, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Those houses are overpriced. The only way you should buy one is if you have a death wish. Many of the crimes are not reported by the officials

17 steven July 25, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Crime rate is 500 – 700% the national average, unemployment nearly 50%. The city around you looks like an atomic bomb hit you but you’re comfortable in your nice little home — sitting there with your AK47 I hope. It’s a mess — don’t kid yourself!

18 Tiana January 24, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Really, Robert Nelson, you are very rude and are judging people by color… Detroit is a GREAT place! Just some areas are bad.

19 Shanequa Washington July 31, 2012 at 11:45 pm

Robert Nelson nailed it perfectly. Anyone who denies it, denies 5000 years of human history. Blacks have never built, invented, civilized, or developed anything in the world. Forget the USA – look at Jamaica or Nigeria or Zimbabwe or Somalia. Now see Detroit, Baltimore, New Orleans or Gary. Wherever cultured, educated, moral, decent God fearing people live – blacks destroy it. Blacks destroy everything in their path in every city USA. Detroit was simply the first to fall. Watch for 100’s of other ciities to cave in the new millenium.

FORCED DIVERSITY has ruined us. You cant FORCE anything & expect it to work. BIG Government forcing us to live, work, & school w/ animals has degraded our nation. Anyone who denies it is blind….& probably near mental retardation. The evidence is glaringly clear. USA, Once the leaders in science & math – now the laughing stock of the world. You think China has “diversity” laws?

Tiana is in denial – it has nothing to do with color of your skin – its brain size, violence & criminal behavior. The skin only acts as an indicator – an alarm. Nobody cares you’re black – they care because you wreck schools, neighborhoods, industry, and everything you touch. They care because you cant talk, you yell. They care because you dont pick up trash, you litter, park in handicap spots, swear around children, act RUDE, and expect special treatment. Hell you cant even use normal names – Tiana, shanequa, tyrell, deshawn – Black people are a burden to the modern world. USA will fall further & further while diversity laws exist.

Diversity is reverse discrimnation for people that cant do things for themselves. Special Treatment for retards. Jobs, Schools, Business Loans, scholarships, etc..etc.. I dont care how many TV propaganda brainwashing movies there are – you can cast a black actor as a scientist or brain surgeon – doesnt make it so in real life.

If it makes you happy to call me names – go ahead – it wont change the facts. I wont burn in Hell either…actually I’ll probably go to Heaven. In an age of universal deciept, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. Diversity is a LIE.

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