Redevelopment of the Core should have started a decade ago

I have been a follower of Strongtowns for almost 10 years now, and tried to bring Chuck into speak about 7 years ago but couldn’t scrounge up a sponsorship. I’m happy to see people trying to embrace their thinking, but I think we need to play some serious catchup.

Jodi makes a good point in her Sunday column today;

But I think a renewed focus on improving existing housing stock, redeveloping core neighborhoods and investing in infrastructure and amenities that draw people to those neighborhoods could help.

Help?! I have been pleading with city councilors for over a decade to implement a core neighborhood revitalization program through re-allocating TIF rebates to individual homeowners and small apartment owners in our core neighborhoods. It could be a multi-tier program that gives property tax rebates for certain kinds of upgrades as well as using federal grants and community development loans. While we are in the middle of a crisis right now in SF when it comes to affordable housing because we have allowed realtors and developers artificially inflate the market. We can’t cry over what we should have done, we need to implement these programs ASAP to save our core neighborhoods while creating abundant affordable housing.



15 comments ↓

#1 SF Realtors Dirty Little Secret on 07.14.19 at 4:46 pm

Quote from Jodi Schwan

“I am becoming moderately concerned by a couple unfolding factors. This week, we reported the average price of a home sold in the city of Sioux Falls in June was nearly $270,000 – the highest I can remember seeing in any given month and a 5.5-percent year-over-year increase. The median price was $229,000, a 4.6 percent increase.”
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Availability of affordable housing in Sioux Falls has become a critical issue.

I have owned a home in a core neighborhood in the central part of the city for over 30 years. Long-term residents of the Bel Aire/Riverdale neighborhood are very aware of homes as they come up for sale and are eventually sold.

Currently, we have two examples of what I would consider one of the lowest forms of capitalism possible. Homes that are being ‘flipped’ by realtors.

Realtors are buying homes listed by other realtors, making a few minor updates and then increasing the price not by thousands of dollars, but by TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS!!

One home is on South Van Eps, the other is on East 19th Street. After being ‘flipped’, these two homes each increased in price from 20 to 30 thousand dollars, taking them out of the range that lower income buyers can afford.

Is what we are seeing in our neighborhood, happening all over Sioux Falls!?

#2 anominous on 07.14.19 at 8:04 pm

if sanford loses its ability to participate in medicare/medicaid over that asfora case, what are they gonna do with all those houses they tearing out.

#3 D@ily Spin on 07.14.19 at 10:00 pm

The influx of the population was hardly predictable. It’s ongoing and still out of control. Home values increased but they’re comparable to other similar size cities. Building materials and labor prices have increased. Generally, there’s inflation that’s yet to be recognized. I disagree with most core area programs. Homes are a hundred years old. They require exorbitant expense due to older design (wiring, plaster, siding). Public utilities are inferior. There’s a point in time where there’s value in the land but the home should be demolished. This is most of the north and northeast side. Core incentive should be funding to entice redevelopment. There’s already migration to newer surrounding cities. Likely, it will continue. Business will follow because central Sioux Falls is high property tax, indirect access, and drug gangs.

#4 Blasphemo on 07.14.19 at 10:20 pm

SF R. D. L. S.: excellent assertion. This is a perfect example of the damage those who worship money do to society at large. While they enrich themselves, other members of society (with life values which don’t prioritize maximum income generation as the ultimate virtue) have their lives diminished by the economic burdens of spiraling cost of living expenses CAUSED by the greed of economic opportunists like these realtors.

#5 "'Extremely' Stable Genius" on 07.15.19 at 12:47 am

Yes, there is a social contract and the housing developers in this town are failing it.

#6 Warren Phear on 07.15.19 at 6:47 am

SF R…. Understand if you don’t want to single out a realtor. How about the name of the realty company?

#7 Wind Cancer Survivor on 07.15.19 at 10:41 am

WP – at least one current city councilor is engaged in this flipping practice, and shamelessly shares it on social media.

The last thing we need in 2020 is any more realtors “serving” in local government!

#8 matt johnson on 07.15.19 at 12:01 pm

Who is being forced to buy at these “inflated” prices? This isn’t the early 2000’s when appraisals were getting phonied up- buyers are smarter now too. Daily has it right- costs have gone up, much of it from building code enhancements. As to a social contract, many of the builders are small, independent companies. They have to pay the higher labor and material prices and try to make a living too. The alternative would be to work for a few big builders. Competition is good for the market- let’s not eliminate it.

#9 Conservative Here on 07.15.19 at 2:07 pm

This is a touchy subject, housing! I think anytime you have a strategy of “growth for sake of growth” you end up with short and long term problems. I just think SF grew too fast too quickly and we were just not ready for it. The problem SF has is when you look at neighborhoods that used to be nice that are now dumps. My grandma lived on 16th and Prairie for years and it was a nice place to live, now you couldn’t pay me to live in there.

The problem is we made it easy for ANYONE to buy a house, now that sounds odd but, the low interest rates of early 2000’s through today has allowed anyone with a pulse making 35k a year to own a home. Not everyone is cut out to be home owner nor can they afford to keep up the property up at times. Just drive through Central Sioux Falls and you will see once nice homes look like complete shit and why, these folks are not keeping their property up. There are various reasons why but, it boils down to these folks were probably not cut out to be home owners.

So what do we do with the middle of town, my guess is nothing as most may be to expensive to fix up and are tear downs. When that happens, if you are a potential buyer, are you building your new house in the central SF or moving to a newer neighborhood, the answer is simple, you move to new neighborhood. 20k on the lot save is not making you build a house in Central Sioux Falls.

We dont have any good answers frankly and what will be left unfortunately is the neighborhoods will gentrify to the point they can all be bought up and a profit can be made.

On a side note, I see that Social Contract thing is back mascaraing as some factual concept we all adhere too. Unless someone has an actual plan that is reasonable to fix this, just stop with it. Social contract is a myth, plain and simple. Its something that just sounds good but, has no basis in reality. You can wordsmith to your hearts content on stuff like that but, it has no basis in law or fact its just something that is trotted out all the time to make folks feel better. As Matt pointed out earlier most of the contractors are small guys just making a buck. Do I wish our wealthy acted more generously with things that mattered YES, can I force them to via a social contract, NO. Sucks but, that is life. Lets move past theory and into practice, thank you!

#10 l3wis on 07.15.19 at 2:30 pm

First of all, I’m going to call BS on some of you. As someone who has lived in his central SF home for 17 years I can honestly say that probably 1 out of 100 homes DT are NOT repairable. My home was built in 1889 and has had many upgrades and repairs, you have to just keep up with it. I had a friend buy a house last year north of Avera across 26th street. They bought it for $126K, put around $20K into it, and they could easily sell it for more. It doesn’t take as much as you think to upgrade and fix these properties, that is why people are flipping them. If you get an EPA grant (for lead paint, etc.) a tax rebate or forgiveness and a community development loan, a person with an average salary could easily fix up a core property. It has to do with revaluating our priorities. Are we going to continue to throw money at parking ramps, above market luxury apartments and condos and historic theatres or are we going to focus on the working class in this community that are trying to clean up their core neighborhoods, oh that’s right, they are too busy cleaning up hazardous waste from inept RR companies.

#11 anominous on 07.15.19 at 3:17 pm

Are realtors flipping core houses for more because people are now realizing living on the south end of town actually sucks?

#12 D@ily Spin on 07.15.19 at 4:28 pm

A realtor involved in flipping is a criminal and ethical crime known as BLOCKBUSTING. It’s a federal case and subject to ethical punishment by the SD Real Estate Commission. Then the idiot brags about it on social media. Guilty as charged.

#13 Conservative Here on 07.15.19 at 4:32 pm

Scott – You will get no argument if I had to choose between parking ramps and luxury items vs revitalizing run down neighborhoods. The part that we have no control over really is what private investors invest their money in such as condos, etc. Not much I can do nor would I as its their money to spend as they see fit. I would just say for me, I chose neither and this is just where we disagree. I would not spend a dime on either as I don’t view either as something taxpayers should spend money on. As to your point, it may only take 20-30k to fix up an older home but, the problem I pointed out, many are not! I just think we grew too fast and many should not have been home owners. I am looking at this a little different and while its a problem, its one that was created by many who got homes they probably should not have. Just driving the loop and looking at all those LARGE spacious historic homes that look like no one has done a THING do them in 40 years, thats too bad.

#14 Marius on 07.15.19 at 7:04 pm

I had a job for many years that took me inside many of these downtown homes. If you think some look bad on the outside you would be shocked (or maybe not) what the condition is on the inside. Just brutal. And the smells…..

#15 Conservative Here on 07.16.19 at 9:00 am

Daily Spin – Please provide links to these “supposed crimes”. I looked up Block Busting and other supposed crimes of house flipping and I don’t see ANY evidence of this by realtors flipping houses. Block Busting is getting White people (scaring them that more minorities are moving in) to move out of their homes and selling them to minorities at higher prices or so that is the definition in a jist. I am not seeing THIS “crime” or ethical issue you speak of. The only way this becomes illegal is if you have appraisers and straw buyers in the mix to inflate the price. I may be mistaken but, before we call something illegal I need to see facts because, if that is the case I have a slew of folks I know that are breaking the law all the time.

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