To The Pointwith Boris Bozic
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2 Comments Real Estate: Worlds Apart

Article written by Boris Bozic on the 27 Mar 2015 in Current Events

From Toronto one can visit another world with relative ease. No space flight training required. It’s a simple as gassing up the family chariot and driving west on the 401.  After 3 hours and 55 minutes of driving, some 371 km, you should hit Detroit.  Within minutes of crossing the border in Windsor, Ontario, you will ask yourself, “where the hell am I?” Sure the navigation display in your car says Detroit, but you’ll be hard pressed to believe it’s not another planet.

The city of Detroit has been in decline, and decay, for a number of years now. The how and why has been debated for many decades. And I can’t speak to the specifics of the root causes of Detroit’s plight, but what I can say with some certainty is that the residents of Detroit would gladly trade their circumstances and problems for ours. I was struck by some statics that I just came across. It’s been well publicized that the average home price in Toronto jut hit $1 million recently. In Detroit, some sixty-two thousand homes will go into foreclosure for unpaid taxes this year. The homes will be auctioned off for an estimated $500. That’s right, for the cost of two grande lattes at $tarbucks, you can buy a house in Detroit. Sure you might have some issues to deal with if you end up with the winning bid. Like the current owners still living in the house, but they stopped paying taxes because the city can no longer provide basic services. There’s a chance they might be gun owners, and now that they’re not paying property taxes, they have extra cash to buy more ammo. Let’s not forget about squatters and the odd crack house. It’s believed that half the homes which will be auctioned are currently occupied.  Why does everything have to be so hard?

You have to feel for the residents of Detroit; it’s their home, it’s all they know. For many they had no choice but to stay, and somehow survive. It’s staggering to think that in 1950, Detroit’s population was 1.85 million – today, it’s 690,000.  Many smaller cities in Canada have been hit hard over the years, but we’ve never witnessed the decline and near extinction of a major urban center.  There’s no pleasure in another person’s misery, but it can provide perspective.

So, if you ever dreamed of becoming a real estate tycoon, here’s your chance.  It brings a whole new meaning to cross boarder shopping, and all you need is a little room on your VISA card, and got yourself a house. 

Until next time,




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Milkes Kulik @/mileskulik Website Reply

Hey Boris, the city has been decimated. I am sure you have read the many reasons why. Growing up across the ditch’ as we called it, we spent many days and nights in Detroit. All major league sports, first class entertainment, great food, and nightlife. You never felt totally safe, but you didn’t feel totally scared either. Demise occurs when people really think that life as it is wont change, and as a result, you don’t have to change either. Throw in corruption that is soap opera – like, a town built on one trick pony industry and the murder capital of the world and Bang…1.2 million people flee.
It is sad to see a city that once rivaled the grandest of them all to be so riddled with disaster. I always remember going by the old train station, on our way for late night tacos, and remarking how vast it was. The building was part of many a movie both old and new and I couldn’t believe the state it was in. It has to be 15 stories high and two or three football fields wide. It was the epicenter of grandeur. I only saw it as a burnt out, windows blown out massive flop and crack house. It definitely provided perspective, personal and business. (It has been or was slated for demolition) People don’t deserve their wealth, they work hard for it, and when the world is changing, don’t feel you don’t have to. It is well written about the greed of American carmakers. The individuals themselves became mightier than their industry, they lost why they did what they did. And before they knew it, 1.2 million people were gone. A lot of great things are going on in Detroit, as reported by the Economist recently, tech incubator and VC funds, urban farming, and mega millionaires seizing opportunity. Hopefully, we can one day walk through the city again and see its grandeur reborn.

March 30 2015 17:13 pm Boris Bozic

Hi Miles,

Your perspective and insight is far greater than mine. I visited Detroit a couple of times to attended sporting events. The contrast was striking, beautifully manicured baseball field and golf course, surrounded by squalor and decay. Your assessment of the situation is bang on. Failure of this magnitude is a result of negligence, and incompetence, by all stakeholders. It requires a unified effort to bring a city to ruins.

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