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stealing from Flint homes

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s home vacancy rate is more than four times the national rate, according to a new report.

Realty Trac says nationally 1.6% of homes are vacant. In Michigan, it’s 3.4%. In Flint, 7.2% are vacant.

Daren Blomquist is with Realty Trac.  He says Flint’s high vacancy rate is “defining the housing market”.

“When you get to a certain threshold, and I would say Flint is far above that threshold, it becomes a driving piece of the market.” Says Blomquist. 

(Photo by Traci Currie/Michigan Radio)

Thieves in Flint are stealing copper pipes, aluminum sidings, indoor fixtures, and appliances from vacant houses. They are taking the material to scrap dealers for quick cash.

Doug Weiland is with the Genesee County Land Bank. He says Flint lost over 70,000 jobs due to the downsizing of the auto industry.

"So the city of Flint’s population is literally about half of what it was at its peak, and we have roughly half of the property that had been used in the past sitting vacant."