Home buyers in Detroit can now take out two mortgages when buying a home — one for the purchase price and one for renovations, reports Daniel Goldstein, personal finance reporter at MarketWatch.
With the highest vacancy rate in the country at more than 12% — more than 93,000 homes in the metro area unoccupied in August 2015, according to Trulia.com — Detroit has been desperate to revitalize neighborhoods and increase property-tax revenue.
Laurie Goodman, director of the Housing Finance Policy Center, a research group based in Washington, D.C., points out that since there are so few comparable properties on which to base an appraisal in Detroit, the value of a rehabbed home won’t be properly reflected.
As a result, a home that was purchased for $30,000 and rehabbed for an additional $30,000 may be appraised at just $50,000, Goodman said, making it unlikely buyers will be willing to invest. It’s also unlikely that lenders would write a mortgage for a property so impaired.
“This disparity creates a vicious cycle: rehabilitating is not profitable, so there is little incentive to invest in a home,” Goodman said in a blog post published by the Urban Institute, the Housing Finance Policy Center’s parent organization.