50 Percent Unemployment in Detroit - And You Get The House For Nearly Free

Last Updated Dec 18, 2009 8:53 AM EST

Who says jobs and real estate aren't tied together?

According to a new study in the Detroit News, the city's unemployment is actually closer to 50 percent than the government's official 30 percent unemployment number. A new survey commissioned by the paper said that a full 100,000 people had become so discouraged that they simply gave up looking.

Imagine if half of the workers in your town simply couldn't find work. What would happen to property values in your neighborhood?

Michigan is one of the top 10 states for foreclosures, usually coming in just behind California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. In November, for the second month in a row, California, Florida, Illinois and Michigan accounted for 52 percent of all foreclosures, according to RealtyTrac's latest data.

RealtyTrac's monthly survey noted that a total of 15,988 Michigan properties (1 out of every 283 homeowners) received foreclosure filings in November, a decrease of nearly 3 percent from the previous month but still nearly 10 percent above the state's total in November 2008.

The good news is that Detroit's existing home sales rose more than 22 percent in November, and median sales prices rose by 19.4 percent. The Detroit Free Press observed that for the first time in two years, sales of non-foreclosed homes were higher (3,357 units) than foreclosed homes (2,418 units).

The bad news? The median price of a home in Detroit was $18,500 in November, compared to $14,450 in November 2008.

Ouch.

And frankly, if it weren't for the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit, it's unlikely that that the numbers would have even looked this good.

No matter what else happens, jobs and real estate are tied together.

Ilyce R. Glink is the author of several books, including 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask. She blogs about money and real estate at ThinkGlink.com.

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    Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally syndicated columnist, best-selling book author, and radio talk show host who also hosts "Expert Real Estate Tips," a Internet video show. She owns ThinkGlink.com as well as Think Glink Media, a privately held company that provides consulting, content and video services companies and non-profit organizations.

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