Publications

- April 1, 2016: Vol. 28, Number 4

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Detroit: America’s great comeback city

by Larry Gray

It’s the American way: cheering for the underdog, rooting for those who are down on their luck or facing adversity, and hoping for a miracle. After all, our nation’s history is rooted in the American patriots’ improbable victory over the mighty British Empire.

No U.S. city has fallen as far as Detroit, which only makes the city’s Rocky Balboa–like comeback story more compelling.

For more than a decade, Detroit was at the bottom of the real estate industry heap. We knew this because every year when the Emerging Trends in Real Estate report was released, Detroit was ranked dead last (usually 50th or 51st, depending on the number of markets in the survey) in the “Markets to Watch” section, based on survey participants’ views of cities’ investment potential.

During those dark days, the city was littered with abandoned homes, overgrown lots and empty commercial buildings. Detroit’s population shrank from 1.8 million residents to 700,000.

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