NPR did a story yesterday on how some banks have decided to demolish foreclosed properties in Cleveland and give the land to local government for its land bank because it’s a way to save save the costs of servicing these properties with the added benefit that it helps stabilize the neighborhood. The agreement was described this way:
The Cuyahoga County Land Bank, a quasi-government corporation, offered lenders a deal: We’ll take your worst houses, if you pay to knock them down. This year, Fannie Mae and some of the country’s biggest lenders — including Bank of America, Citibank and Wells Fargo — will help pay for half of the land bank’s 700 scheduled demolitions.
Based on what I’m seeing, it makes sense to demolish these residences sooner, rather than later. I’ve seen homes open to raccoons and water damage that just keep deteriorating. No one is ever going to buy them and fix them up. With the banks sharing the cost of demolition in these circumstances, it becomes possible to stop the trend toward blight in the surrounding community. The vacant land can be used as green space or bought by someone who wants to build a new residence. We’re finding that in some circumstances these properties are more marketable if the derelict house is gone.