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News Link • Housing

This Land Is Your Land: When Desperate Cities Give Away Homes

• Time

Real estate prices scaring you off from buying that dream house? Fear not: Weighed down by a sluggish economy and confronted with a glut of vacant real estate, towns across the U.S. and Canada have taken to offering land for next to nothing — or, sometimes, literally nothing.

Whether it’s to boost local businesses or revive homes falling into disrepair, here are three local governments — and one prestigious Ivy League university — that have bet their future on the power of Free.

Take it or leave it… actually, just take it

Gary, Ind., is unloading houses for just one dollar a pop, The New York Times reports. The city was once a bustling home to 180,000 people, but the local steel industry has collapsed since its mid-century heyday, and the city’s population has fallen to less than 80,000. In addition to about $8.4 million in debt, the exodus has left the city with as many as 10,000 abandoned homes.

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