Matthew Wisla
Foreclosures Block By Block

Five Neighborhoods With Foreclosure Problems

First in a series on five city neighborhoods that still have many foreclosed and abandoned homes.

By , Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service - Jan 7th, 2015 03:48 pm
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Tale of two sides of the same street

An analysis of property values on the two sides of the 1100 block of West Mineral Street in the Clarke Square neighborhood illustrates the effect of demolition on surrounding property values.

Buildings on both sides of the block are more than a century old. Most were built between 1880 and 1900, and the newest house was built in 1929, presumably before the devastating stock market crash in late October that year.

On the north side of the block, which has five lots, sit homes that appear relatively upscale for the neighborhood. The house at 1102 W. Mineral features 2,056 square feet of living space, a 440-square-foot garage and a sizeable side yard. A four-unit apartment building is the most valuable property on the block.

The south side of the block, with nine lots, tells a completely different story. Two properties on that side of the street have been demolished, one in 2012 and the other within the past year. Only one property on the south side has a higher 2014 assessed value than any property on the north half.

The 1100 block was hit especially hard by the recession in 2008. Before the housing bubble burst and the economy crashed, the homes on the 1100 block had a combined assessed value of $934,700. In six years, the block’s properties lost 43 percent of their value, and are now worth a combined $533,100. Overall, Milwaukee lost 26 percent of its housing value since the recession began, according to Milwaukee Housing Director Aaron Szopinski.

Even in the past year, when property values in the city as a whole were beginning to recover, the block’s assessed value decreased, losing $60,700 from 2013 to 2014. The main reason for the drop was the demolition of 1127 W. Mineral, which lost 90 percent of its value after the owner failed to pay taxes or cooperate with city-mandated upkeep, according to a neighbor, Bernardo Gonzalez. It is now worth $3,200, according to data published by the Milwaukee County assessor’s office.

The other demolished home on the block, 1119 W. Mineral, was worth $83,800 in 2008. In 2012 it was demolished by the city.

Even with four fewer properties, the north side accounts for about 60 percent of the block’s 2014 assessed value, with five of the six most valuable properties on the block.

Including the now-demolished homes, the properties in the 1100 block are worth, on average, $38,058. The five homes on the north side average $63,840 in assessed value, while the south side’s nine properties average $23,766. The homes on the south side account for 99 percent of delinquent property taxes homeowners on the block owe the city.

Why this discrepancy?

The demolished homes diminish the average value on the south side of the block. The seven standing homes on the south side lost an average of 4.5 percent of their assessed value in the past year, when 1127 W. Mineral was demolished.

Szopinski said that in a lot of cases, demolition of deteriorated homes is a good solution. He said when he asks neighbors how they feel about demolitions, they generally say something like, “they’ve been gone so long and enough bad stuff has happened around that place that I’d rather have it gone.”

Still, between the boarded-up houses, the foreclosed property at 1115 W. Mineral, a prime candidate for demolition, and 1125 W. Mineral heading in that direction, more torn-down houses might make an already-struggling block derelict.

This story was originally published by Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, where you can find other stories reporting on fifteen city neighborhoods in Milwaukee.

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6 thoughts on “Foreclosures Block By Block: Five Neighborhoods With Foreclosure Problems”

  1. Ivan says:

    Clarke Square is west of Cesar E Chavez Drive. 1127 W Mineral is in Walker’s Square.

  2. David says:

    Foreclosure and abandonment is another symptom of the area’s economic decline and loss of decent quality paying jobs in the region. Wisconsin has lost thousands of middle class production jobs since the 1980s where from the 40s to 70s, a high school graduate could jump right into a decent paying job. A college education is no longer a barometer for economic success. The USA has lost millions of these jobs as well. Walmart jobs are not an equivalent replacement that supports a family.

    Detroit lost over 300,000 high paying manufacturing jobs since the 80s and we have seen the negative results of this drastic upheaval. Current government policies nationwide and in Wisconsin do not bode well for the future economic well being of our younger citizens as well as the rest of us that face a continuing downward spiral.

    Few politicians have answers as they spin nonsense. Wisconsin has some of the least educated legislators and governor in modern history that are bankrupt on innovation and use ALEC as their fall back for new laws written by corporations to continue fleecing the working citizens and poor.

  3. wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    last 10 years has been disaster for the middle and working classes. What do we need. First we must fix crime and he schools. As for abandoned houses?? what do these aldermen do. Every alderman should know every house that is problem in his district and be working to get people in there to work on them, buy them cheap. Many of these house are very solid, they just need work. i built houses and apts for years. Problem is that govt and these people in govt just cannot handle anything like that. They want tog et money to hire contractors and end up spending over hundred thousand dollars on property worth 50. The whole base of your city is neighborhoods not down town. If neighborhoods are strong so will downtowns. What are we doing?? Arena? Street cars. Both worthless to fix city.

  4. PMD says:

    Crime is a vital issue no doubt, but economic development and transportation projects are not exactly worthless to improve the city. Helping the working and middle classes involves more than just fighting crime.

  5. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    i understand the the Left believes that there is not such a thing as a thug. Of what value is a street car or arena to kids that cannot read and are scared to leave the house cause of drug gangs encouraged by the Left?

  6. Frank Galvan says:

    The only think worse than an idiot is an idiot who thinks that he’s smart.

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