Monday, May 4, 2009

Fighting Foreclosed Home Blight

Calculated Risk has a post here detailing efforts some cities are making to force lenders to maintain the vacant homes they’ve foreclosed.

Apart from the obvious fact that blight upsets constituents, attacking blight aggressively is good policy because it helps maintain values (and tax bases). I came to this view via Wesley Skogan’s Disorder and Decline and George Kelling’s Fixing Broken Windows, both of which should be required reading for real estate investors, appraisers, and lenders. The latest research provides additional support for the idea that disorder leads more disorder, creating a self-reinforcing downward spiral.

Although Detroit’s economic problems are severe, I wonder if it would have made a difference if funds had been available in the past to keep the place cleaned up.

A city in ruins