You Can Buy A House For One Dollar Or Less In Economically Depressed Cities All Over America

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

Would you like to buy a house for one dollar?  If someone came up to you on the street and asked you that question, you would probably respond by saying that it sounds too good to be true.  But this is actually happening in economically-depressed cities all over America.  Of course there are a number of reasons why you might want to think twice before buying any of these homes, and I will get into those reasons in just a little bit.  First, however, it is worth noting that many of the cities where these "free houses" are available were once some of the most prosperous cities in the entire country.  In fact, the city of Detroit once had the highest per capita income in the entire nation.  But as millions of good jobs have been shipped overseas, these once prosperous communities have degenerated into rotting, decaying hellholes.  Now homes that once housed thriving middle class families cannot even be given away.  This is happening all over America, and what we are witnessing right now is only just the beginning.

The photo that I have posted below was sent to me by a reader just the other day.  It is a photo of a house in Yakima, Washington that is apparently being given away for free.  At one time it was probably quite a lovely home, but now nobody seems to want it...

Free Home In Yakima, Washington

This piqued my curiosity, so I started doing some research and I discovered that homes all over the nation are being sold off for a dollar or less.  The following are just a few examples...

-Buffalo, New York: "The Urban Homestead Program that is offered by the City of Buffalo enables qualified buyers to purchase a home that has been deemed 'homestead eligible' for $1.00 and there are plenty of properties left. There are three main requirements when purchasing a homestead property; the owner must fix all code violations within 18 months, have immediate access to at least $5000, and live there for at least three years. You also have to cover the closing costs of the purchase."

-Gary, Indiana: "Officials say that a third of the houses in Gary are unoccupied, hollowed dwellings spread across a city that, like other former industrial powerhouses, has lost more than half its population in the last half-century.

While some of those homes will be demolished, Gary is exploring a more affordable way to lift its haggard tax base and reduce the excess of empty structures: sell them for $1."

-South Bend, Indiana: "How could you refuse this offer? The city of South Bend, Indiana wants to give this handsome circa-1851 Italianate farmhouse away to anyone willing to properly restore it. Aside from the boarded up windows (the boards are painted to look like real windows), the place is in pretty good shape, with a completely restored exterior, new roof, and all new HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems. All you'll need to do is restore the gutted (but clean as can be) interior."

-Detroit, Michigan: "Now that the motor city has effectively run out of gas and declared bankruptcy, some rather eye-popping deals are presenting themselves to first time home buyers who appreciate the challenge of a fixer-upper.

Hundreds of Detroit homes currently listed on Zillow have asking prices below $5,000, with at least one seller so desperate as to offer his house for just $1, ABC News reported."


And guess who is selling more "one dollar homes" than anyone else?

If you guessed "the federal government" you would be correct.

Right now, the federal government is selling foreclosed homes to low income families all over the country for just one dollar...

HUD's Dollar Homes initiative helps local governments to foster housing opportunities for low to moderate income families and address specific community needs by offering them the opportunity to purchase qualified HUD-owned homes for $1 each.


Dollar Homes are single-family homes that are acquired by the Federal Housing Administration (which is part of HUD) as a result of foreclosure actions. Single-family properties are made available through the program whenever FHA is unable to sell the homes for six months.


By selling vacant homes for $1 after six months on the market, HUD makes it possible for communities to fix up the homes and put them to good use at a considerable savings.

Before you get too excited, there are a whole bunch of reasons why you wouldn't want to actually buy any of these one dollar homes.

First of all, most of them have been totally trashed.  Just to get them up to livable condition would take thousands of dollars in most cases.  Many of them are full of asbestos, and severe wiring and plumbing issues are quite common.

Secondly, you assume all of the liability for a home when you buy it.  So if a homeless person stumbles in and injures himself, you could be liable for his injuries.

Thirdly, many of these homes are in very high crime neighborhoods.  In some of these areas, people will literally rip up and carry away anything that is not bolted down.

Fourthly, property taxes are very high in many of these cities.  Local governments are desperate to get people into these homes so that they can get the taxes flowing again.  In many cases, what you would pay in taxes for a year is more than the true value of the home itself.

So, like I said, these homes are not the "great deal" that they may appear to be at first glance.

But that is not really the issue.

The real question is this: What is causing our communities to decay so dramatically?

And of course a big part of the answer is that the middle class in America is dying.

According to Time Magazine, one new report has discovered that nearly half the country is constantly living in a state of "persistent economic insecurity"...

But as evidenced by a report out Thursday from the Corporation for Enterprise Development, nearly half of Americans are living in a state of “persistent economic insecurity,” that makes it “difficult to look beyond immediate needs and plan for a more secure future.”

That same report also found that 56 percent of all Americans now have "subprime credit".

We are a nation that is losing our independence and sinking into poverty.

Right now, 49.2 percent of all Americans are receiving benefits from at least one government program, and the U.S. government has spent an astounding 3.7 trillion dollars on welfare programs over the past five years.

Millions of our jobs have been shipped overseas, the control freak bureaucrats that are running things are absolutely killing "the little guy", and poverty in the United States is exploding at a frightening pace.

Things are "changing" in this country, and not for the better.

One way that the death of the middle class is manifesting itself is in the death of shopping malls all over America.  The following is an excerpt from a recent Business Insider article...

All across America, once-vibrant shopping malls are boarded up and decaying.


Traffic-driving anchors like Sears and JCPenney are shutting down stores, and mall owners are having a hard time finding retailers large enough to replace them. With a fresh wave of closures on the horizon, the problem is set to accelerate, according to retail and real estate analysts.

According to that same article, one prominent retail analyst believes that we could see up to 50 percent of the shopping malls in America close within 20 years...

Within 15 to 20 years, retail consultant Howard Davidowitz expects as many as half of America's shopping malls to fail. He predicts that only upscale shopping centers with anchors like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus will survive.

And did you catch that last part?  Only the shopping malls in wealthy areas will survive because the wealthy will be the only ones with enough money to support them.

For much more on this phenomenon, please see my previous article entitled "What Recovery? Sears And J.C. Penney Are DYING".

At this point, things have already gotten so bad that now even Wal-Mart is having trouble.  In fact, Wal-Mart is blaming the recent slowdown in sales on cuts to the federal food stamp program...

Wal-Mart announced today that cuts in a federal food stamp program as well as record cold temperatures hurt its fourth quarter profits.


After previously reporting “relatively flat” sales for the quarter, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. now says that sales for its namesake store and its Sam’s Club locations would be “slightly negative” for the November-January quarter, according to Agence France-Presse.


Wal-Mart’s Chief Financial Officer, Charles Holley, blamed the revised forecast on deeper-than-expected cuts to the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the extreme cold weather occurring in the past month.

This is how far the middle class in America has fallen.  So many people are now on food stamps that even a slight reduction in benefits has a huge impact on the largest retailer in the entire country.

And actually, many rural communities could end up losing their Wal-Mart stores in the years ahead as the economy continues to deteriorate.  In a recent CNBC article entitled "Time to close Wal-Mart stores? Analysts think so", it was suggested that Wal-Mart should close about 100 "underperforming" supercenters in rural locations around the nation.

We are rapidly becoming "two Americas".  In the "good America", the wealthy will still have plenty of retail stores to choose from within easy driving distance from their million dollar homes.

In the "bad America", which will include most of us, our shopping malls will be closing down and the rotting, decaying homes of our neighbors will be sold off for next to nothing.

So which America do you live in?

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The Gooch's picture

Defending it is the kicker.

Righteous and well armed preppers, come together and BTFD!

(Buy The Fucking Detroit!)

Overfed's picture

I've been tryin' to convince the wife that carpetbagging is gonna be the way to go!

MisterMousePotato's picture

I just bought a house. Nice old house. Two story, two bedroom, one bath. A tenth of an acre backed up to mountains, forest, etc. for a hundred miles.

City utilities: Natural gas, electricity, DSL (or 4g, if that's your thing), water, and sewer.

To be sure, it is pretty remote; I mean, there are only two different Federal District Courts located less than an hour away in opposite directions. Six miles to the grocery store (on major interstate highway). A Wal-Mart about 20 minutes away, if that's your thing.

Nice river a tenth of a mile away. Ski area six miles away; another about 20 minutes in the opposite direction. Both dry powder. Free shuttle bus runs right past the house.

Not too many people there. In my daughter's class, there are two boys and two girls. The local mining companies give very generous scholarships to graduates (with five kids in a graduating class, why not?)

House does need a little work. Nothing I haven't done before. Learned from my mistakes, so this time, I'll do it right.

Was $13,900. Owner even offered to finance with $3,500 down. (LOL) Will be nice not to have a mortgage.

I saw an even nicer house for $13,000 in Rumford, Maine. In fact, it was a really, really, cool big ol' house. You don't have to end up in a Detroit-like sewer, you know, just 'cause you don't want to spend a lot on housing.

Property taxes about $186 a year. For the first time in a while, I won't have to worry about ending up on the front page of the Drudge Report twice a year.

Four chan's picture

long plywood and drywall screws.

johnQpublic's picture

southern adirondacks

quarter acre

backs up to state forever wild parkland with great hunting

combined school and property taxes of 361 a year

needs a bit of work...but not unlivable

well, septic, electric of under 20 a month

for sale 27,000


idontcare's picture

Always liked Maine, but how's the weather right now?

InvalidID's picture


 It's cold as fuck here and I'm in southern Maine. The poster below is right, the state is full of retards. There is a lot of cheap, good land to be had upstate however. With the cold weather I feel pretty sure the starving hordes would die off before finding you, if it comes to that.

Larry Dallas's picture

Maine is tough. Not a lot if smart people there either. Great place to summer though.

Joe A's picture

Sounds great! What kind of internet connection do you have?

The Dunce's picture

Detroit is beautiful.  Especially in January.  Don't let murderous street gangs keep you away from a bargain.  Word.

Frank -THE COIN -'s picture

I grew up in Jersey City, NJ and witnessed the Riots in 1967. After that these Unfashionable buildings called BrownStones were on

sale for $ 1.00 . Those same Brownstones now sell for $3-4 million. So do some homework, buy 50 of those houses and will

them to your GrandKids.


jeff montanye's picture

hard to live in fifty houses at the same time, but certainly buying when things are cheap is right.  might they get cheaper?

bigrooster's picture

Good luck with that idea fool.  The property taxes in Detroit on that $1 house are $300+ a month.  Then add the cost of remodel which is another 20k plus.  Oh what is that you never thought about these MINOR details.  There is a reason these shit holes are $1.  BTW what are the property taxes on those 3 mil brownstones now?   Over $30,000 a year I am sure.  

Frank -THE COIN -'s picture

My Bad. I automatically thought that if you could only afford 1 of those houses because of the Minor Details and Elbow grease involved, that you would know to only buy 1.

Squid-puppets a-go-go's picture

impotantly, too, purchasing a house in many jurisdiction encumbers you with any unpaid back property taxes - you could be up for 20 grand if the previous owner/s havent been paying since the 2008 crash. This is an old story - i saw $1 houses in detroits online real estate pages back in 2007

FreedomGuy's picture

Check the property taxes before you do that. My guess is the assessment will not come in at $1.00.

Manipuflation's picture

Damn you FreedomGuy.  That was fast.;-)

draghithebearslayer's picture

the property tax is based on how much a property's worth, right? so if it's worthless to an extend that it's being flung around at $1, wouldn't it make sense that there's no property tax associated with it? at these dismal states, the purchaser of these houses should be given tax-return!

akak's picture

What you say would make sense in a fair and rational world, but that is not the world in which we live.

There is, or at least can be, a HUGE difference between "market value" and "assessed value".  I guarantee you that no city is EVER going to take into consideration the real market value of highly distressed homes such as these when determining their official assessed value for taxation purposes.

The Gooch's picture

"Tax Revolt" causes statists to have convulsions.

perchprism's picture


Hey, are you any kin to the Clinch Mountain Gooches?

devo's picture

When the price drops they just raise the mill rate.

Joseff Stalin's picture

It was over taxation that caused the people to move away in the first place.

akak's picture


It was over taxation that caused the people to move away in the first place.

Wake me up when politicians start learning from their mistakes.

kchrisc's picture

"Wake me up when politicians start learning from their mistakes."


First off, pols do not make mistakes. They make money and then leave. Leaving the destruction that they have wrought behind for the people to deal with.

Second, no pol in the history of the world has ever learned anything from their malfeasance. They may question how they got caught while waiting for their turn at the gallows, but they never, ever learn anything. Shit, even Hitler was blaming the German people up to the time he killed himself.


"The guillotine may not teach, but it sure eliminates."

Againstthelie's picture

Could it be that this is also a question of biology?

I mean you can pump millions into new homes in Africa and a few years later everything is rotten. And on the other hand nowhere in the world do exist slums of White people.

If a country receives a third world population, one should not be surprised to see it become a third world country.

Politics follows biology.

ExpendableOne's picture

Um, Apalachia == slums of white people.  Please, do some homework.

jeff montanye's picture

east germany gets a touch slummy from place to place.  there are other parts moving east for the next two thousand miles or so as well.

N2OJoe's picture

So what is the murder rate and gang activity like in Appalachia?

I didn't look up the answer to this but I'm pretty confident that it's Apples to Oranges.

sylviasays's picture

Um, Apalachia is spelled Appalachia and it is not a slum of white people. The Appalachian Region is a 205,000-square-mile region that follows the spine of the Appalachian Mountains from southern New York to northern Mississippi. The Region's economy was once highly dependent on mining, forestry, agriculture, chemical industries, and heavy industry. The loss of jobs to mechanization and the closing of coal mines has left much of central and southern Appalachia poverty-stricken.

Squid-puppets a-go-go's picture

congratulations on making the most racist comment ive read on ZH this year

strangewalk's picture

"No where in the world do exist slums of white people"--ha ha ha ha Whaaaaa ha ha. You haven't been around. There is no trash worse than white trash--my mother used to tell me (she was Dutch-German). 

Never One Roach's picture

Check property taxes ... and home owners insurance. One druggie or homeless gets hurt in yoru $1.00 abode..or a homelss starts a fire that destroys the house, kills a few other homeless in it and burns down a few houses next door...and so get the idea.

A $1.00 house may be short path the court room.


ncdirtdigger's picture

I smell a conspiracy brewing. Profit sharing anyone?

zer0concerns's picture

I just can't see any reason to worry. Things are improving so far as I can tell. At least in my area. I was able to get three prostitutes on the super bowl for less than half what one cost just last year. They'll take EBT too and they didn't use to do that. Personally, imho, there's enough feral cats around here that we could prolly get rid of EBT but that's just me. Naw,I ain't seeing the prob that ZH'ers are always crying like little bitches about. what ?

Manipuflation's picture

Get your Obamacare up to date.

The Wisp's picture

In our town, there is a whole industrial building in fairly good shape that they will give you ( the town ) if you will just pay.. Part of the Back Taxes

grunk's picture

Then some douchebag Code Enforcement Officer will come out and fine you for all the violations you purchased.

nostinknbadges's picture

Plus state EPA, federal EPA, OSHA, NIMBYs.

graneros's picture

Waste of a dollar.

A Nanny Moose's picture

Especially considering that just about every peice of real property the Feds touch, eventually turns into a superfund site.

starman's picture

Free house ! FREEDOM! Not! Taxssss!

James's picture

I wonder if that house comes w/mining rights.

Yakima, Wa. is situated in a valley below a dormant volcano. Last time the volcano blew it took down every old-growth tree in sight and buried those trees under 20' of mud.

Since that time periodically people have gone in and mined out those trees-Big money.

Same thing happened in Lake Superior where logs chained together to take to the mill from Minn. to Mich. fell apart and then sank. Surface temp is 47 degrees year round so on the bottom it's cold. This cold preserves the trees and it too is old-growth.

rayduh4life's picture

good luck on that mining claim in Yakima,WA.  The water table where that house is is about 15 - 20' at best. 

Bailed on Orange County 26 years ago for the Yakima Valley.  Bailing out of it shortly for my own private Idawho.