Baltimore selling city-owned houses for $1 as vacant homes stack up

Officials in a Maryland city are addressing a vacant home crisis with a program that will practically give houses away.

Residents in Baltimore who qualify could scoop up a house for just $1, thanks to the BuyIntoBmore Fixed Pricing Program which would currently affect a little more than 200 homes. The program, suggested by City Council President Nick Mosby, is aimed at the present crisis with more than 13,500 vacant homes in Baltimore, according to the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

The first phase of the program begins April 1 and runs for 90 days. It has not been without its share of critics.

“Properties purchased for use as a primary residence will sell for $1!! Applicants must provide proof of available funding of no less than $90,000 to complete the renovations and are subject to the application vetting process. Applicants may inquire with Live Baltimore and DHCD Office of Homeownership for any available incentive programs they may qualify for,” the DHCD states on the website.

“All applicants must have an AVAILABLE budget of $90,000 for property rehabilitation per property applied for. Most of the City’s inventory will require significant rehabilitation to bring the property to code. Estimates range between $125 – $150 per square foot to complete a rehab, and, as such, most rehabs may require more than $90,000,” the Department explained.

“However, DHCD determined that $90,000 is the minimum amount of assets or financing a purchaser would need to have to prove that they could afford to complete the scope of work. Therefore, to keep the vetting process clear, consistent, and equitable, $90,000 per property is applied across the board, the website says.

The second phase of the plan is called “Charm City Roots” and focuses on the “emotional connection and sense of belonging that comes with owning a home with familial or legacy ties in Baltimore.”

Those with a “connection to a vacant property that is not City-owned will be able to express their interest in purchasing that home as their primary residence.”

During the beginning phase of the program, any large nonprofits with 51 or more employees as well as developers would be required to pay $3,000 for one of the city-owned homes.

“Baltimore boasts one of the highest crime rates in the United States. The probability of falling victim to either violent or property-related offenses in this city stands at 1 in 21. This crime rate surpasses that of communities across the spectrum, ranging from small towns to sprawling metropolises,” the New York Post reported.

“This $1 measure, greenlit by a city board last Wednesday, echoes the spirit of Baltimore’s historic “dollar house” program of the 1970s, which saw homesteaders revitalizing communities one house at a time,” the outlet added.

Frieda Powers


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