Detroit remains this elusive city that the country can’t seem to define. Is it destined to be the next greatest city in the country or is the city better left a wasteland?
“Detroit is one of seven of America’s largest 250 cities in which home values are expected to fall through Q1 2016. And continuing its string of dubious superlatives, Detroit home values are expected to fall the most – by far – of any of these seven cities,” said Aaron Terrazas, senior economist at Zillow, in the Zillow article above.
HousingWire Magazine covered the city back in March 2014, narrating how the city hit rock bottom and has been striving to get out ever since.
The city’s downfall began as early as the new millennium. From 2000 to 2010, the city’s population fell almost 25%, from 951,270 residents to 713,777, according to Census data.
On July 18, 2013, the city of Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, making it the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
The once-vibrant city had hit bottom.
But now, over three years since the bankruptcy and even more since the financial crisis, the city is on a solid path toward revitalization.
In an interview with HousingWire, Quicken Loans CEO Bill Emerson said, “By no means are we at a place where we can declare victory, but we are clearly making steps in the right direction.
“I think things in the city, especially between downtown and midtown, are doing very well. We have invested a lot of time and energy in these areas. We actually need more homes in those areas. You are seeing all kinds of activity in the street,” he added.
Two recent articles in the Detroit Free Press outline major projects Quicken Loans and Dan Gilbert’s other companies are participating in.
In one, the article explained that Quicken Loans partnered with the home improvement store Home Depot and the Detroit Land Bank Authority for a program to renovate as many as 65 abandoned but salvageable homes in four Detroit neighborhoods in order to help boost home prices across the city.
Additionally, the other article said that Dan Gilbert's Bedrock Development Co. unveiled its plan to transform a large swath of Detroit's Brush Park neighborhood next to downtown into a high-density arrangement of mostly market-rate housing.
So when will Detroit be vibrant again?
“You take 50 years of what happened to Detroit, and you can’t expect that to transition in five years. But the progress in those five years is amazing,” Emerson said.
Emerson is positive on the next five years for the city, noting that while there is still so much to be done, the momentum that is building will be exponential.
He did note that the metro Detroit area is burgeoning faster, and in other parts of Detroit the progress will obviously come a little slower.
And to everyone who says that there is no hope for the city, Emerson says that they haven’t been to Detroit.
“They don’t understand what is going on. There is a vibrant city that affects people from all ages — from Millennials to folks who are farther on in years — and want to get reengaged,” he said. “I encourage people to come here and see what is going on. We have business people coming from all over the world that want to see what is happening here.”