March 01, 2007

Preserving Properties on the Edge: Rapid Recycling of Distressed and Abandoned Properties

W. Dennis Keating

RR07-16: The problems presented by at risk, vacant and abandoned rental properties are national in scope, although their magnitude varies by state and locality. While this phenomenon has had its greatest visibility in the older, industrial cities of the Northeast and Midwest, it is not limited to those regions whose urban areas are undergoing economic and social transformation in the wake of widespread de-industrialization, often accompanied by a significant loss of jobs and population. “Sunbelt” cities, as well as those in the “Rustbelt”, have also seen this phenomenon, particularly as the result of a downturn in the economy, e.g., the high tech crash that hit cities like San Francisco hard, cities like Los Angeles that had to adjust to the restructuring of the defense industry following the end of the Cold War, and the oil patch cities like Denver and Houston that had to cope with sudden downtowns in the energy industries. Given the shortage of affordable rental housing available to low- and moderate-income households, the inadequacy of governmental subsidies and regulatory measures to reduce the price of rental housing, and the cost of what newly-constructed rental housing is being developed, localities can ill afford to have any significant portion of the existing housing stock deteriorate to the point of becoming vacant and then abandoned…

Category: Working Papers

Read More About: Housing Markets & Conditions, Rental Housing, Affordability