Five Neighborhoods With Foreclosure Problems
First in a series on five city neighborhoods that still have many foreclosed and abandoned homes.
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 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.
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.
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