Recessions are synonymous with job losses, stock market slumps and loss of equity, but less overall wealth can also mean big real estate bargains. As the prolonged pains of the recession continue, shockingly inexpensive property is available - including hotels without an asking price, $1 homes, and an entire town for sale. (Investing in this kind of real estate takes capital, time and careful planning. See Investing In Foreclosures Not A Get-Rich-Quick Venture.)
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- The Pontiac Silverdome
In 2009, the former home of the NFL's Detroit Lions, the Pontiac Silverdome, sold for $538,000 - about 1% of the $55.7 million the developers forked over to build the stadium in 1975. Over the past couple of years, automotive plant closures, massive layoffs and high foreclosure rates have stricken Detroit's economy and eroded property values.
- Wilderness Camp in Canada
Despite an uncanny similarity to the fictitious camp in 1979's comedy "Meatballs", Northstar Camp is actually located in Manitoba, Canada. Set on 185 acres and on a mile of beachfront property, this nature and fishing camp is selling for $299,000CAN. The place was originally built as a personal lodge in 1989 and is a prime fishing spot for lake trout, walleye and northern pike for four months out of the year. One hitch: A float plane is the only way to get to the camp.
- Texas Golf Course
In Waco, Texas, the price of The Lake Country Club has been reduced almost 30%, from $4.2 million to $3 million. It has two 18-hole golf courses (including one championship green that formerly hosted a LPGA tournament), a 5,000-square-foot clubhouse, and a waterfront camp and fishing site. (There are a lot of similarities between golf and investing. Find out how to keep your game out of the rough. Check out 10 Golf Tips To Help Investors Tee Off.)
- Landmark Home
In Chicago's upscale North Shore neighborhood, a landmark home - built by the nephew of renowned architect Daniel Burnham - is on the market for $1. There's only one catch: The local preservation commission in Glenview, Illinois. is obligating the next owner to move the 1894-era home to a new location. For two years, the local church, who currently owns the property, has been searching for a buyer so that they can expand their facilities onto the home's existing lot.
- A Small Town
The fad of gobbling up islands has now shifted to small towns. Wauconda, a tiny four-acre township with a post office, gas station, grocery store, restaurant and four-bedroom house, was put up for auction on eBay in 2010. In March, it sold for $370,601, which stands as a significant rollback from the 2008 asking price of $1.1 million.
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The Bottom Line
For investors still afloat, recessions tend to be attractive times to take advantage of real estate investment opportunities. And with upbeat news that the commercial real estate market is on the mend, prices may be at their lowest. In the third quarter of 2010, commercial real estate values seem to have stabilized, but buying opportunities still exist all over the country. (Follow these five tips to get a leg up on rival bargain hunters. Read 5 Tips For Recession House Hunters.)
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