Baltimore wants to sell hundreds of vacant homes for $1 each

Baltimore plans to sell boarded-up houses for $1 each in an attempt to revive neighborhoods that have been plagued by crime and disrepair.

The program backed by Mayor Brandon Scott will offer more than 200 city-owned vacant properties to residents who commit to repairing and living in them. A city board approved the measure on Wednesday.

Vacant homes are a decades-long problem in the Maryland city, which has one of the highest crime rates in the U.S. concentrated within a few high-poverty neighborhoods. The measure evokes Baltimore’s “dollar house” program from the 1970s, which offered properties for a buck to homesteaders if they fixed them up. A similar effort has also been attempted in Newark, New Jersey.

Homes in West Baltimore, Maryland, some of which are abandoned and boarded up.

Nathan Howard/Bloomberg

The Baltimore program is meant to prioritize individual buyers over developers, who will have to pay $3,000 per home. Home repair grants of $50,000 are available to help with renovations, but recipients have to be pre-approved for a construction loan, according to Some non-profits urged the city to put up guardrails against having most of the homes go to developers, which could drive up prices and push out poor residents.

While the housing program targets a few hundred homes, there were close to 15,000 abandoned properties across Baltimore as of 2022, according to the city. More properties may eventually be included.

Comments are closed.