Photos: 13,000 Homes Are Available in Dem-Run Baltimore Starting at $1 - Would You Buy One?


Housing prices may be ridiculous all over America, but in Baltimore, Maryland, they’re paying people to take houses — literally — and folks still aren’t interested.

With over 13,000 vacant homes in the city, many abandoned due to high rates of violent crime, Baltimore is now selling some of these properties for as little as $1 to individuals, community land trusts and nonprofits, according to the Daily Mail.

The program, passed by Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, is aimed at reviving struggling neighborhoods by incentivizing buyers to purchase and rehabilitate vacant homes. The city currently owns close to 1,000 of these properties, and around 200 of them are up for sale through the new “Fixed Pricing Program.”

Under the program, individual buyers and community land trusts can purchase city-owned vacant homes for just $1. Small nonprofits can buy the homes for $1,000 each, while developers and larger nonprofits will need to pay $3,000 per property.

To qualify for the $1 price, individual buyers must maintain the property as their primary residence for at least five years after obtaining an occupancy permit within 12 months of purchase. They must also demonstrate proof of funding for the rehabilitation, with a minimum of $90,000 in assets required, as most of the vacant homes are not up to code.

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But it’s not just the one dollar house — the city is also offering repair grants of $50,000 to individuals preapproved for a construction loan.

Would this program convince you to buy a property in Baltimore for $1?

For decades, the Democratic Party-run Baltimore has been plagued by a systemic culture of public corruption, fraud, and unethical behavior among its elected leaders and government officials.

An opinion piece in Baltimore Magazine by Ron Cassie highlights how corruption has become ingrained in Baltimore’s political fabric over the generations. A University of Illinois at Chicago study branded Baltimore “the second most corrupt jurisdiction in the country.”

Add to that, years of being told by city leaders like former State Attorney Marilyn Mosby not to enforce laws has demoralized the Baltimore Police Department, according to an op-ed in City Journal by Maurice Richards, a former chief of the Martinsburg, West Virginia, police department.

According to Richards, demoralized officers are leaving in droves, and fewer recruits are signing up as morale hits rock bottom. With the already understaffed department down 700 officers, many fear Baltimore’s “thin blue line” has been irreparably broken.

It’s no wonder people aren’t exactly lining up to take Baltimore up on its offer of $1 houses, even with the added $50,000 repair grants. The city’s longstanding struggle with violent crime, rampant corruption among its political leadership, wasteful spending and a demoralized police force would give any prospective homebuyer pause.

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Even with the monetary incentive, taking on a dilapidated home with a commitment to keep it for five years is a risky proposition in a city that has failed its residents over and over.

The old adage “caveat emptor” or “buyer beware” comes to mind.

The ramshackle state of many of these vacant properties means the true cost of purchasing could easily balloon into the six figures once all the necessary renovations are factored in. And even after sinking that kind of investment, buyers have no guarantee their household will be safeguarded from the high violent crime rates that have plagued Baltimore neighborhoods for decades.

Revitalizing these abandoned neighborhoods will need more than bargain-basement prices.

It will need a turnaround of the systemic corruption and anti-public safety policies that have resulted in this mess in the first place.

Baltimore residents may be crossing their fingers that these neighborhoods will be revitalized, but they’re better off not holding their breath.

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Rachel Emmanuel has served as the director of content on a Republican congressional campaign and writes content for a popular conservative book franchise.
Rachel M. Emmanuel has served as the Director of Content on a Republican Congressional campaign and writes for a popular Conservative book franchise.