Regenerating Detroit Through Real Estate Tokenization

In a city slowly overcoming decades of urban decay, the next frontier for renewal lies in the vast residential real estate footprint.
At the turn of the twentieth century, Detroit was a relatively small city; the thirteenth largest in the United States. Known primarily for its manufacturing output, Detroit had a population of under 300,000 people.

However, with the creation of the automobile came a surge in employment opportunities in Detroit, with an influx of over one million job seekers in the following decades. And so the city grew, as did the number of properties. Detroit became a sprawling city with thousands of single-family houses.

This growth, both in population and industry, peaked just after World War II. Then began the steady decline of “the abandoned city”, as car manufacturers left to find cheaper production alternatives elsewhere, leaving large factories vacant. This inevitably led to huge unemployment in the city and a domino effect of local business closures. Migration out of Detroit meant there were fewer people to pay taxes, and the economy suffered greatly – filing for bankruptcy in 2013, with debts and liabilities amounting to $18.5 billion.

Once considered to be one of the most dangerous cities in America, high crime rates, widespread urban decay and a declining population have all contributed to Detroit’s reputation problem. Today, these issues are beginning to change. Since the early 2000s, Detroit has benefitted from a concerted effort by visionary entrepreneurs to rebuild the downtown region. Thanks in large part to these efforts, the city is on the cusp of a reawakening. Fiat Chrysler has recently invested $4.5B in Michigan plants, creating thousands of jobs in Detroit while Forbes recently  announced that Detroit will host its 30 Under 30 Summitfor the next three consecutive years, “recognizing the important role entrepreneurs and innovators are playing in reinventing and reimagining the Motor City”. At RealT, we too want to contribute to this revival of Detroit, as a city that people want to visit, live in, and invest in.

Why Tokenize Property in Detroit?
Choosing Detroit as the first city to offer tokenized property investment was simple. Due to its sprawling property base and the relatively early stages of  urban renewal, Detroit’s comparatively low property prices offer great potential for growth. In 2012, the average price of homes sold in Detroit was $7,500. In 2014, some 50,000 of the city’s structures were abandoned. Today, the city’s ongoing efforts to remove abandoned homes that are beyond salvaging are just one  promising sign of urban renewal. Plans are also underwayfor waterfront renovations and architectural revitalization to transform the city. While investing in property is never a sure thing, these factors bode well for the city’s real estate outlook.

At RealT, we closely monitor the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for cities around the United States to analyze the value of real estate and opportunities for growth, and it was this analysis that led us to Detroit. CIPs are short-term plans of up to 10 years that outline a city’s capital project plans, schedules and timelines, and propose strategies for the financing of these proposed projects. The aim is to determine which potential projects are worth pursuing, to consolidate municipal planning, and to stabilize the debt of the city.

By intricately analyzing a city’s CIP, we aim to provide users with access to properties that provide significant investment potential and hence we’ve chosen to list our first properties in Detroit.  Investing in a tokenized property in Detroit allows investors to enjoy a passive income as well as a promising prospective return on investment. We anticipate the city’s property prices to increase as novel developments gather momentum to create a new, revitalized Detroit.

We are excited to join the housing renewal taking place in Detroit.  Through technological innovation and a strong community commitment, Detroit offers the savvy investor a  compelling opportunity to drive positive change and capitalize on the surging real estate market. According to American author Carmen Agra Deedy, There are constant cycles in history. There is loss, but it is always followed by regeneration”. Make sure you are part of it.

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