Pennsylvania city “sells” homes to attract investment

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In an attempt to reverse decades of economic decline and attract investment, a city outside of Pittsburgh is holding out a major incentive for its vacant homes.

Monessen Mayor Matt Shorraw said his administration would eliminate taxes on properties if a new owner agrees to clean and renovate them, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The city of Pennsylvania has so far been successful in finding owners – about half of whom are investors – for about four dozen vacant homes and commercial properties.

Monessen’s population has gradually declined from around 20,000 in the 1940s to just around 7,300 in 2019. One in 10 properties is vacant, many because it has accumulated thousands of dollars in arrears. taxes.

To qualify for tax relief, a buyer must agree to spend more than three times the amount of back taxes on repairs. For people with the cash, spending that amount to renovate a run-down house probably won’t be difficult.

A participant in the program, Maria Marquez, obtained an abandoned house for several years. She started with $ 10,000 worth of work and expects the entire renovation to cost around $ 25,000.

Time may be running out to participate in the program. Shorraw lost the Democratic primary in the spring and his term ends in January.

Ron Mozer, the likely future mayor, said there were better ways to erase taxes and privileges.
Other small towns in the United States have tried similar incentive programs to attract residents and investment.

[WSJ] – Denis lynch


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