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Areas of Depressed Property Values - Opportunities?
Old 08-11-2017, 01:33 PM   #1
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Areas of Depressed Property Values - Opportunities?

Watching a documentary on an unrelated subject, the narrator was driving through a rust belt town that was in decline. She commented on the number of abandoned homes in what looked like an otherwise nice community.

It got me thinking. Are there areas of depressed property values that would be attractive to retirees? No need for employment, no need for a good school system.

I already see downsides in the availability of stores and services, and the potential for crime to rise and the value to go even lower.

But I wonder if there are places where things are starting to stabilize, which might make good retirement destinations simply because they're no longer quite as attractive to working stiffs.
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Old 08-11-2017, 01:37 PM   #2
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The problem, I think, is you don't know if it's Detroit and will continue to drop to basically zero value or if it's other cities (Pittsburgh of 25 years ago) that have been able to bounce back. I think you need a Pulte Homes type buyer to buy the whole town and make a Sun City!
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Old 08-11-2017, 01:39 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by CaptTom View Post
Watching a documentary on an unrelated subject, the narrator was driving through a rust belt town that was in decline. She commented on the number of abandoned homes in what looked like an otherwise nice community.

It got me thinking. Are there areas of depressed property values that would be attractive to retirees? No need for employment, no need for a good school system.

I already see downsides in the availability of stores and services, and the potential for crime to rise and the value to go even lower.

But I wonder if there are places where things are starting to stabilize, which might make good retirement destinations simply because they're no longer quite as attractive to working stiffs.
Overall. other than low RE prices, there is little to be said for a depressed location.

Lots or opioid addiction and its costs, etc., etc.

Ha
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Old 08-11-2017, 01:59 PM   #4
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If you're into outdoor activities, there are a lot of small towns in the upper Midwest that are great hubs for recreation where houses are dirt cheap. These areas usually have a small population of transplanted or seasonal outdoor sports enthusiasts sprinkled in among the locals who are just trying to make ends meet.
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Old 08-12-2017, 06:42 PM   #5
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This sounds a bit like taking a chance on a depressed stock except the percent of your NW tied up would be greater with a house. I wouldn't touch it but YMMV.
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Old 08-12-2017, 07:35 PM   #6
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This sounds a bit like taking a chance on a depressed stock except the percent of your NW tied up would be greater with a house. I wouldn't touch it but YMMV.
Actually, not, because the depressed housing means you aren't spending that much for your home.

I have a house in a Rust Belt, NY State town of about 30K...It's a nice neighborhood, modest home. Would cost about 450K in Rockville MD, I might sell it for 80K-90K on a good day. Consequently, although I have a lake house, I am not in any big hurry to divest myself of it, since it represents such a small part of my NW, and it's very convenient, and I have friends and family nearby.

In fact, even where the lake house is, where values are high relative to my house in town, there has been an influx of retirees from larger urban areas, where even the lake and surrounding areas are cheap compared to their suburban digs they are selling.
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Old 08-12-2017, 08:00 PM   #7
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If you're into outdoor activities, there are a lot of small towns in the upper Midwest that are great hubs for recreation where houses are dirt cheap. These areas usually have a small population of transplanted or seasonal outdoor sports enthusiasts sprinkled in among the locals who are just trying to make ends meet.
+1 on this. Lots of places in Iowa/Nebraska/Missouri/Dakotas where you could get a really nice house on a big lot (or in the countryside) for $100K. Livable
homes for $60K. Good access to hunting and fishing. Not so much for "nature lovers" if you are looking for wilderness type activities but certainly deer, pheasant, duck, and the like for hunting.
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Old 08-12-2017, 08:29 PM   #8
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I would worry a bit about the local government increasing property taxes on the few remaining people to cover the basic services for all of the town. Either that or the basic services police, fire, etc. just are non-existent.

And the property crime would be really bad in a place with no police but high drug use.

I dunno. Sounds iffy.

That being said, we did buy our ~30 acres in the poorer, more rural part of Washington state and it doesn't seem that bad when we go to the town. I guess there were already so many homeless people camping on the streets and underpasses in Seattle that it was quite refreshing to only see four or five per trip at the town here.
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Old 08-12-2017, 08:32 PM   #9
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+1 on this. Lots of places in Iowa/Nebraska/Missouri/Dakotas where you could get a really nice house on a big lot (or in the countryside) for $100K. Livable
homes for $60K. Good access to hunting and fishing. Not so much for "nature lovers" if you are looking for wilderness type activities but certainly deer, pheasant, duck, and the like for hunting.
On our around the USA trip in the RV last year we saw an adorable 3bd 2bath house for sale in a small farming town in North Dakota (about 300 people) for $27k on a corner lot across the street from the very pretty town hall. $27k! That is like sofa money in Seattle.
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Old 08-12-2017, 09:04 PM   #10
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On our around the USA trip in the RV last year we saw an adorable 3bd 2bath house for sale in a small farming town in North Dakota (about 300 people) for $27k on a corner lot across the street from the very pretty town hall. $27k! That is like sofa money in Seattle.
During the last 8 years or so when I was working oil & gas projects in ND, I believe I had been on every paved (and many unpaved) road in the state.

There are lots of nice little communities and with oil prices in the tank, and continuing to stay there, the population and real estate prices are stabilizing. However, unless you are a rancher, finding employment or things to occupy your time (besides drinking in bars) may be tough.

You definitely do not want to be there in the winter.
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Old 08-12-2017, 09:12 PM   #11
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+1 on this. Lots of places in Iowa/Nebraska/Missouri/Dakotas where you could get a really nice house on a big lot (or in the countryside) for $100K. Livable
homes for $60K. Good access to hunting and fishing. Not so much for "nature lovers" if you are looking for wilderness type activities but certainly deer, pheasant, duck, and the like for hunting.
I am getting to the point of having had enough of people, urbanization and increasing immigration of morons who mostly think the answer to everything is to increase my taxes. Montana, take me away. I have another 7 years of kids in school to convince DW...
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Old 08-12-2017, 09:16 PM   #12
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If you're into outdoor activities, there are a lot of small towns in the upper Midwest that are great hubs for recreation where houses are dirt cheap. These areas usually have a small population of transplanted or seasonal outdoor sports enthusiasts sprinkled in among the locals who are just trying to make ends meet.
Even if the initial home price is relatively inexpensive, you still have terrible winter weather and ridiculous property taxes. I worked with a gal that had a 1100 sq. ft. house in Kenosha on a 45/ft. wide lot and property taxes were $5500 10 years ago. A house like that in our community could be bought for $50k and taxes might run $200 a year.

In many places, an inexpensive housing market doesn't necessarily come with a poor quality lifestyle like you may find in Detroit, Cleveland and many rust belt cities. I lived in a medium size town in the Midwest and we were just not satisfied with the quality of life and lack of lakes and general recreation.
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Old 08-12-2017, 11:31 PM   #13
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During the last 8 years or so when I was working oil & gas projects in ND, I believe I had been on every paved (and many unpaved) road in the state.

There are lots of nice little communities and with oil prices in the tank, and continuing to stay there, the population and real estate prices are stabilizing. However, unless you are a rancher, finding employment or things to occupy your time (besides drinking in bars) may be tough.

You definitely do not want to be there in the winter.
+1

Lived in Southwestern NoDak in the early 80's working in the the ag field, just after that era's oil bust. Beautiful landscape, solid people but extremely limited socially. Apparently hasn't changed hasn't changed much in 35 years.

Would like to go back some summer and take it all in once more, but wouldn't make any real estate investments there again.
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Old 08-12-2017, 11:39 PM   #14
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+1 on this. Lots of places in Iowa/Nebraska/Missouri/Dakotas where you could get a really nice house on a big lot (or in the countryside) for $100K. Livable
homes for $60K. Good access to hunting and fishing. Not so much for "nature lovers" if you are looking for wilderness type activities but certainly deer, pheasant, duck, and the like for hunting.
We lived on 20 acres 65 miles outside of KC. Totally private, no one knew there was a house back there. Low taxes, other than a meth dealer the sheriff hauled away, no crime.

3 brd, 2 3/4 bath 2000 sq ft house, 2400 square ft. barn, 1500 square ft. garage, ponds....... under 200k. It was on a gravel road, but you could eat what you killed.
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Old 08-13-2017, 07:48 AM   #15
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From what I have seen in the rural settings of depressed property values (not everywhere just in general) what you are seeing is what I call the dying of small town America. I wouldn't invest in these type of areas if it were me because I have been there done that. I presently live in a rural setting but I grew up here and have owned the property for a long time. Socially it isn't for everyone if you like the conveniences of the city and being around people. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 08-13-2017, 08:17 AM   #16
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If you're into outdoor activities, there are a lot of small towns in the upper Midwest that are great hubs for recreation where houses are dirt cheap. These areas usually have a small population of transplanted or seasonal outdoor sports enthusiasts sprinkled in among the locals who are just trying to make ends meet.
Some will disagree but I wouldn't live any where but a small town/rural USA. I can't agree more with the post above. If you want to fit in you get involved with the people. All small town people want is that you except them also and you will have friends for life.

You can live cheap but rich in a area that you don't have to worry about the thing that metro areas have.

The other thing the outdoors is right out the door. I personally can't stand being caged up and swallowed by a city. I was born in a rural setting by a country Doc. and will die in a small town rural setting. Lol

Good luck and I hope you find what you are looking for.
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Old 08-13-2017, 08:52 AM   #17
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From what I have seen in the rural settings of depressed property values (not everywhere just in general) what you are seeing is what I call the dying of small town America. I wouldn't invest in these type of areas if it were me because I have been there done that. I presently live in a rural setting but I grew up here and have owned the property for a long time. Socially it isn't for everyone if you like the conveniences of the city and being around people. Just my 2 cents.
Driving thru a small town you can see if it is in the depressed class by noting if there are vacant lots in the residential areas of the town. In particular scattered vacant lots, which suggest that there were once houses there, and they have since been demolished.
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Old 08-13-2017, 10:52 AM   #18
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The biggest concern for retirees is that those towns rarely have good healthcare options.

When you're 60+ (for some people, 50+) you want to have prompt access to a decent hospital & network of medical providers.
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Old 08-13-2017, 10:53 AM   #19
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I live in Upstate NY and am surprised on the comments of drug use related to depressed property values in this thread.
I doubt if the drug problems here are greater than booming cities like Seattle or
Portland. In fact I remember working in Seattle in the mid 80s and being surprised on the homeless problem and the clearly stoned people sleeping on the streets, all before the current opiate 'crisis'.
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Old 08-13-2017, 11:23 AM   #20
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In Everett, WA (just north of Seattle), they even put up a sign welcoming people:

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