Excerpt:

A combination of beaten down home prices and rising rents make these cities promising places to become a landlord -- just as long as you understand the risks involved.

#2 Detroit

Median home price in 2012: $78,000
Projected home price in 2015: $93,982
Projected annual rent in 2015: $9,016

It's hard to imagine that home prices could get any cheaper in Detroit.

Hit hard by the auto industry's financial troubles and the housing bust, median home prices in the area have been cut almost in half to $78,000 from a 2004 high of $157,000, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

And with rents on the rise -- up 5% over the past 12 months, according to Rent Jungle -- these beaten down home prices have created a nice opportunity for investors.

Even better, renters' incomes have become more stable. The auto industry has started down the road to recovery, giving a nice boost to the local economy. The metro area unemployment rate has fallen by 2.4 percentage points over the 12 months ended in April to 8.7%.

Winzer figures investors will earn 4.6-percentage-point higher return than the national average over the next three years.

Click HERE to read the full article on CNN Money!
Photo: Mike Hahn 
Excerpt:

Detroit, MI, will make a comeback

After years of neglect and devastation--sinking so low that the state of Michigan threatened to take over the city--Detroit is poised for a comeback. According to a recent YPulse survey, more and more millennials are opting to live in small cities, like Detroit.

These young idealists are moving back to Detroit, breathing new life into the downtrodden city with their small businesses, many of which are socially and environmentally responsible. The Urban Innovation Exchange showcases Detroit’s growing social innovation movement, promoting small businesses, like Recycle Here! and Food Lab Detroit. This type of optimism and innovation makes Detroit a city to watch.

Click HERE to read the full list of cities on Business Insider (dot) com! 

detroit plaza

Declining, desperate Detroit is old news.

It's not that the city's economic woes, struggling schools, racial friction and crime have been magically solved. A glance at local headlines will tell you that.

But there are new stories to tell about Detroit today. Which doesn't mean the old stories are all wrong -- just that they're not the whole story anymore.

In recent years, for instance, Detroit has become a magnet for ambitious young people. Some grew up in the area; some move in from the coasts or other parts of the Midwest. Many are motivated by idealism or a sense of adventure, seeking to play a part in reviving a Great American City. Others, however, simply see an opportunity to fast track their careers.

You see them everywhere -- sporting events downtown, galleries in Midtown, pubs in Corktown, restaurants in Southwest, music clubs in Hamtramck, sidewalks on the East Side, soccer fields at Belle Isle park, vegetable stands at Eastern Market. But a lot of people inside Michigan and out still don't know about it.

This new story is exemplified by the Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program (DRFP), a Wayne State University project that connects rising mid-career professionals to organizations at the forefront of efforts to boost economic development in the city. Initiated by Wayne State Associate Vice President Ahmad Ezzeddine in partnership with the Kresge Foundation, the Hudson-Webber Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Skillman Foundation, the project drew inspiration from a fellowship program in post-Katrina New Orleans. A wide majority of the 25 New Orleans Fellows stayed in the city after the program concluded, notes DFRP Executive Director, Dr. Robin Boyle -- a nationally known planning professional who chairs Wayne State's Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

"I still marvel over the fact that we had almost 650 applicants from across the country apply for 25 positions -- the opportunity to come to Detroit," says Rachele Downs, the DRFP Program Manager and a veteran commercial real estate broker. "These are people who are graduates of some of the best schools in the country with equally impressive professional experience."

Click HERE to read the full article by Jay Walljasper on HuffPost Detroit!
Now an incubator, Detroit's Green Garage used to be a show room for Model Ts.


Excerpt:

More than 200 community volunteers came together to help design and renovate the Green Garage. In accordance with its eco-friendly mission, they used mostly reclaimed materials, generated just one-and-a-half Dumpsters’ worth of waste, and used passive means – a white roof, triple-glazed windows and extra-thick insulation – to cut the building’s energy demand by 90 percent. The remaining demand is provided by renewable means. (Thanks in part to a solar-powered system for climate control that circulates hot water through pipes below the floor, the heating bill for one year — harsh Michigan winters included — is about what a traditionally outfitted building one-twentieth of the Green Garage’s size would pay, Mr. Brennan said.)

So far, the 11,500-square-foot space has attracted more than 20 one- to five-person companies. Participants brainstorm together in small working groups. They share gardening chores in a newly greened alley alongside the building. Each Friday, they break bread with visitors from the community at large .

They lease their Green Garage work spaces at rates ranging from $50 a month for an open chair at one of the room’s shared tables to $1,000 for an office-size area that fits four to five people. The Brennans also plan to generate revenue by offering consulting services to outside businesses pursuing triple-bottom-line strategies.

A few of the in-house businesses, like Dickinson by Design, which makes furniture and renovates homes using recycled materials, are already established and humming along; the company’s founder, Chad Dickinson, moved to Detroit from Nashville and just hired his first employee. Other enterprises are new and finding their way, eschewing traditional means of financing – Mr. Brennan isn’t big on loans that burden still-developing plans with debt – and looking to the community for help, ideas and materials. One such start-up, De-tread, plans to harvest the thousands of discarded tires that are a blight and health hazard around the city and turn the rubber into new products, including floor mats for cars, a good match for automobile manufacturers that have started pledging to include recycled content in new vehicles.

Jason Peet, 34, who interviews potential Green Garage residents, is the founder of a start-up called Mend, which uses old-growth beams from Detroit homes slated for demolition and refashions them into tables and housewares, each accompanied by a historical account of the home where the materials originated. Before joining the Green Garage, Mr. Peet attended a seminar at another incubator for local businesses. “They had this whole fast-track program, it gets you to a business plan very quickly,” he recalled. At the time, however, Mr. Peet was going through a divorce, had a 6-year-old son, and didn’t want to take out a loan to get the capital he’d need for a speedy start.

He switched tracks after meeting Mr. Brennan, who gave him a job as a carpenter on the Green Garage’s renovations, a way to pay his bills while working to conceive Mend on the side. A year later, Mr. Peet said, he’s reached the prototype stage for Mend, while keeping his finances intact.

“I haven’t really come out of pocket for it,” he said, adding that he feels good about the slow and measured growth of his plan. “The core needs to be real solid before you go forward.”

Click HERE to read the full article by Jessica Bruder on NY Times (dot) com!

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