Detroit's Outlook Falls Along With Home Prices
Tim Jones – Chicago Tribune January 29, 2009
DETROIT — 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. ...
If the Obama administration is looking for a city to test new ideas for chronic urban problems, it can look to Detroit, a northern New Orleans without the French Quarter. While bedrock poverty in the Crescent City was violently laid bare by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Detroit has been quietly slipping into social and economic crisis for 40 years. 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. ...
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 candidates travel around this sprawling city, some invoking the nostalgic era of Big Three dominance and vowing that Detroit can be great again. ...
"Detroit will never be the great industrial center again," said Kevin Boyle, a Detroit native and author of "Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights and Murder in the Jazz Age."
"What will it look like?" Boyle said. "I don't know."
Last updated 10/03/2009