- Dec 19, 2008
Pops has owned a few blocks near the university of Houston since the 90’s. There are up and coming areas of Houston with what are called shotgun houses. Developers are paying to tear them down. My pops has begun to move them to his empty lots and rents them out $600 a month a pop. For the area, $600 a month is considered low income. The city took notice and gave him $10 million to continue. A property purchased with the $10 million must provide affordable housing for the next 80 years.Who's in?
Would you take free land in rural America?
In the midst of a national housing shortage, towns on the Kansas plains are giving away free land and ultra-cheap houses. Is the offer worth it?
Sitting in the basement of a historic courthouse in Lincoln — a wind-swept town in north central Kansas — Bradley Roberts laughs while comparing his current situation to his previous life in San Francisco.
Roberts was like many people in the Bay Area: Savvy, successful, and drowning in housing expenses. When he bought a house ~15 years ago, he and his partner went $300k over their budget. Rent at his last place in San Francisco was nearly $4k a month.
“It was awful,” Roberts, 50, told The Hustle.
Roberts, whose grandparents were from Lincoln, bought a converted barn home in the middle of town last year for $22k. His annual housing costs in Lincoln are about the same as what his monthly housing costs were in San Francisco.
“When I moved to Kansas,” Roberts said, “I was like, ‘holy ****, they’re giving stuff away.’”
In Kansas small towns, the houses are cheap, with quality homes going for $100k and fixer-uppers costing far less. Land, a commodity over which NIMBY battles rage throughout the country, can actually be obtained for free in several counties.
The downside to living in rural Kansas, of course, has always been economic opportunity. High-paying jobs don’t grow as easily as the milo.
But price-conscious urban dwellers have been drawn to places they never thought they could live. After a year of soaring real estate prices in every city and suburb, long-depressed and depopulated Kansas is going through a lower-key real estate boom of its own.
“It always used to be the case that we said there’s a big difference between what’s going on in the larger cities and the rural areas,” said Stanley Longhofer, a professor and founding director of the Wichita State University Center for Real Estate. “And the answer now is not as much. It really is kind of across the board.”
Are the Great Plains the greatest option left for an affordable lifestyle? And can small towns reverse the market forces that have long made them financially risky and undesirable?
During my visit, Gourley showed me the ultimate real estate bargain: an olive-green Dutch Colonial house with, an ad states, “enough woodwork to cause anyone to swoon.” It’s a fixer-upper but not beyond repair.
The price tag: $0.00.
The only catch is the house must be moved. But the free lots are just down the street. A buyer could put the free house on a free lot.
There’s more: One of the grants Gourley secured can be used on the house, meaning income-eligible buyers could get $30k to spend on renovations.
As of last week, the house was still available. It could be yours, if you’re willing to have someone pay you to take it.
In the midst of a national housing shortage, towns on the Kansas plains are giving away free land and ultra-cheap houses. Is the offer worth it?thehustle.co