March 19th, 2007


Houses cheaper than cars in Detroit

Via kindofstrange;_ylt=Aov5dA96IapEm53NtFaK6N0EtbAF

Houses cheaper than cars in Detroit

By Kevin KrolickiMon Mar 19, 11:48 AM ET

With bidding stalled on some of the least desirable residences in Detroit's collapsing housing market, even the fast-talking auctioneer was feeling the stress.

"Folks, the ground underneath the house goes with it. You do know that, right?" he offered.

After selling house after house in the Motor City for less than the $29,000 it costs to buy the average new car, the auctioneer tried a new line: "The lumber in the house is worth more than that!"

As Detroit reels from job losses in the U.S. auto industry, the depressed city has emerged as a boomtown in one area: foreclosed property.

It also stands as a case study in the economic pain from a housing bust as analysts consider whether a developing crisis in mortgages to high-risk borrowers will trigger a slowdown in the broader U.S. economy.

The rising cost of mortgage financing for Detroit borrowers with weak credit has added to the downdraft from a slumping local economy to send home values plunging faster than many investors anticipated a few months ago.

At a weekend sale of about 300 Detroit-area houses by Texas-based auction firm Hudson & Marshall, the mood was marked more by fear than greed.

"These people are investors and they know the difficulty of finding financing. They know the difficulty of finding good tenants. They're cautious," said realtor Stanley Wegrzynowicz, who attended the auction.

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My idea of wealth

"The ideal world, for me, would be one where I could lease everything that isn't consumed, like food and toilet paper. The leasor would be responsible for the maintenance and replacement of everything in my life; I would just use it and be careful with it.

One of America's great industrialists, Roger Sonnebend, loved his work so much that he removed almost all possessions from his life. He owned no houses but kept hotel rooms in New York, London, and Los Angeles, where he traveled regularly, and had a closet of clothes in each one, which the hotel kept clean."

Ohio police hire intern to strip for them

...using a stolen identity.

"Haley Dawson has never been a stripper.

But Ohio liquor-control agents took her identity and gave it to a 22-year-old college student who they had recruited to work undercover as a nude dancer.

As part of an investigation that resulted in nothing more than misdemeanor charges, police paid University of Dayton criminal-justice student Michelle Szuhay $100 a night to take it all off in early 2003 — as liquor-control officers drank beer and watched in the audience for three months, court papers show. "