The continued souring of the economy leaves me with mixed feelings.
- Despite the housing slump and the unavailability of credit, my immediate area is still seeing considerable renovation. Living in the city I would like to see the rise of urban living, with a resulting increase in services, and decrease in crime. Without investment in residential housing in the area increasing services and decreasing crime become more difficult. I understand I won't see the growth of the 2000-2006, but I don’t want to see decline. I was scared that the death spiraling economy would kill nearly all investment in the area, but this doesn't seem to be the case.
In the past year the houses on the block behind me I've seen two houses add a level, and the renovation quality on both homes looks excellent. The neighbor immediately behind me is currently renovating his home, and two other homes are also currently undergoing major renovation. In this area, a major renovation means that the house is totatally gutted and built from new. This makes at least 5 homes either going through major renovation, or having completed a major renovation during the past year. With only 15 houses on this side of the street/block, that is about 1/3. I am pleasantly surprised that with this level of development, as I thought may 1 or 2 would undergo renovation.
Also, there is now a dumpster sitting on my street. You see, here in Baltimore parking is on street as there aren't many driveways or garages. In some communities people would hate to see a dumpster on their street, but I am more than happy to see it. I'm ecstatic. It means investment, which translates to progress.
- My neighbor's house, as well as 1346 other homes in my zip code, are being put up for sale due to back taxes. The lien against the house is for $821. The house is taxed against a $284k "taxable amount". He, along with the other owners that owe back taxes have until 5/1 in order to pay their taxes or their homes will be put up for auction with a minum bid price equal to the lien value on the house. For a list of properties that owe back taxes and will potentially go up for sale check out bidbaltimore.com.
While I'm sure most owners will pay their back taxes, but this sale shows just how cash strapped people are. I'm really not sure what effect this has on the area's future, if any at all. Guess we'll just have to wait in see.
In the meanwhile, we are still enjoying the house being done. There is a mile long to do list that I have been happily ignoring in my post renovation bliss. Maybe I'll get to it this weekend. Or next weekend. Or maybe next month…