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Cash incentives have "absorbed" a lot of housing stock in midtown Detroit

Detroit skyline
user Bernt Rostad
Detroit skyline

Three Detroit businesses earlier this year began to offer up to $25,000 to encourage their employees to buy a place to live in Midtown Detroit. But the "Live Midtown" incentives have created a new kind of housing crisis in the city: a housing shortage. 

Austin Black is a realtor with City Living Detroit in midtown. He says in 2007 - 2008, the area was flush with unsold units. But he says now many of his clients have become frustrated looking for housing in the area.

"I think there was an expectation that there was a lot of supply when the program was announced," explains Black. But he says the incentives "absorbed a lot of that supply," which he believes is ultimately a good thing. But now, he says, "we're at the point where there's jut not a lot available."

Black says currently there’s only one loft building in Midtown with units for sale, the Willys Overland Lofts near Avalon Bakery. Black says there are six condos for sale and even fewer single family homes:

"There’s about three ... single family homes on the market. And most of those are mansions, like in Brush Park for example, that would need a significant amount of money to get them in livable conditions."

Black says new developments in Midtown won’t be available until late next year. He says developers should address the new housing demand by offering smaller developments with "a diversity of price points and housing types."

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.
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