In cities particularly hard hit by the economic downturn, chronic vacancy levels have reached historic highs. What with that whole supply-and-demand phenomenon, that means lower prices on some otherwise desirable homes. We've picked five desirable houses from CNBC's list of the emptiest cities.
At No. 5 is Virginia's capital, Richmond, which has more than 15% of its rentals sitting vacant. This Albert Hunt-designed detached townhouse (above) on the city's storied Monument Avenue has already suffered a price chop in its nearly one-year tenure on the market, but it may have to go even lower than $1.095 million to entice a buyer. In D.C., two hours north, that would be a small price to pay for 4,200 square feet, six bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, and all the historic charm one might expect from a house built in 1911.
We have to admit, we were a little surprised that No. 4 Detroit didn't manage to make the top three on the list of ghost town cities, but other influences have property values way down in Motown. This 6,500-square-foot brick mansion is asking just $69,000, thanks in part to the obvious need for a gut renovation. Built in 1922, the manse still hangs on to some decent curb appeal and has the plumbing for seven bathrooms and an undetermined (but probably large) number of bedrooms. For that price, there should be plenty left over for the renovation.
Memphis might have a legendary music scene, but that's not doing much for its rental market at the moment, where 15% of properties sit vacant. The city's high crime rate is possibly to blame, but there are still some desirable homes with commensurate price tags. This 10,000-square-foot mansion on Main Street was carved out of a former commercial building and includes an indoor basketball court, a backyard pool, and parking for more than 20 cars in the underground garage. On the market for a little less than a year, this incognito palace is on the market for $4.6 million.
Dayton, Ohio, No. 2 on the emptiest cities list, has the highest homeowner vacancy rate in the country, at 5.4%, so it's pretty amazing that the brokerbabble for this listing had the gall to call it "one of the nicest properties to become available in recent years," given the sheer number of homes available in Dayton at any given time.
It's not bad, with three bedrooms and 3.5 baths, but the finishes are hardly high quality and the beige bathtub-shower combination is downright hideous. The listing boasts an outrageous number of pictures—92—but the house, after three months on the market, is still listed for $235,000.
There was no way that Florida, with its high number of second homes and seemingly higher number of foreclosures, was going to be left off this list. Theme park capital of the world Orlando takes the dubious distinction of also being the country's biggest ghost town, with a rental vacancy rate of almost 19%.
Thankfully, the city has managed to keep its cash reserves up, so there's little chance it will be headed to bankruptcy soon. That means adventurous buyers with an eye for a deal could make out quite well in Orlando. This extended family-size mansion would cost millions more if it were located in Palm Beach or Jupiter, but, just a couple miles from Mickey, it is asking just under $3 million. That price includes five bedrooms, six bathrooms, 5,600 square feet, a pool, a study, and a private dock with boat lift.