NewsTalk

Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

The next housing challenge

May 19, 2008
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As the housing debacle continues to unwind, another big â?? really big â?? issue in housing is going largely unnoticed.

Houses built in the 1950s are at risk of falling into the same decay experienced by many older neighborhoods, some of which have been revitalized into showplaces like Lockerbie or the Old Northside.

The newer houses arenâ??t particularly attractive by todayâ??s standards. Many have fewer than 1,000 square feet. They typically have three tiny bedrooms, a single bath and maybe a single-car garage. All of it rests on a concrete slab.

Marion County alone has 58,000 houses built in the â??50s, according to the Center for Urban Policy and the Environment at IUPUI. Thatâ??s about 15 percent of the housing stock in the county, a great deal of which is entry-level quality.

Today, these houses sell for $40,000 to more than $100,000â??depending on the neighborhood and school district. Some areas are holding their values and others are not.

The future of â??50s-era suburbs worries IUPUI researcher Drew Klacik.

Unless action is taken to shore up declining neighborhoods at both social and infrastructure levels, the areas soon could tip into decay that would be extremely difficult to reverse.

â??Thatâ??s a new challenge,â?? Klacik says. â??Thatâ??s not an urban core problem. Thatâ??s an early suburban problem.â??

What do you think? Can these neighborhoods be saved?
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