Phila. foreclosure numbers top 8,500

April 21, 2009 4:32:27 PM PDT
Despite efforts to slow the tide, Philadelphia's current foreclosures number more than 8,500.The concern is foreclosed home could become long term vacant homes then eyesores. If you have enough of them along an attractive street, the street wouldn't be so attractive anymore.

The rule of thumb is a single boarded up vacant house can reduce the value of neighboring homes by $5-thousand. In last fall's spending spree Congress created the National Stabilization Program, Philadelphia wants to use its share to buy up, fix up and then resell.

"This money allows us to rehab them and then sell them back to somebody from the neighborhood we hope that's the goal of the program," said Terry Gillen of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority.

Action News went to one row house that was not a foreclosure, but developer Jeff Allegretti, of Pennrose Service Company, is interested in being part of the new program. With the exception of the hardwood almost everything inside the home is new including the plumbing, heating, windows, bath and kitchen. The cost of the improvements about $90-thousand, not cheap, but proponents say leaving a house vacant can hurt a community.

"It's a relatively stable block um but if we had not intervened with these two properties in today's current market conditions these properties would have remained vacant."

The city hopes to save several hundred homes. That's in contrast to other cities that want their federal dollars for foreclosure demolition.

"In many cities like Cleveland and Pittsburgh they're talking about buying these closed, vacant houses and bulldozing them," said Gillen.

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