Why it’s beneficial to start tearing down vacant homes


Despite evidence of a fledgling housing recovery, Tom Gara explains why it may be beneficial to start tearing down some vacant homes.

“As of the end of June there are just over 132.7m housing units in America, and 10.6% of them – more than 14m – are vacant all year round for some reason or another… at the pointy end of that spectrum are nearly four million homes that aren’t just sitting unsold or unrented – they’re not even on the market… places simply not on the market and not being used for anything, has actually increased in the last year. And these vacant homes are bad news for all involved, bringing down property values around them, falling into disrepair, and often attracting higher crime rates and other social problems.”

“Places where private investors will likely do much of the heavy lifting include areas like Phoenix, where a boom-era oversupply of new homes is gradually being bought up at low prices and turned into rental units. But other towns home to longer-term decline will need to simply tear buildings down. And for that, land banks – government or non-profit entities that own, manage and dispose of vacant land, have a role to play.”