Block in Baltimore: Increasing home values ​​by investing in underserved communities

One of the houses on West Fayette Street has been in the Yvonne Gunn family since 1925. Since moving there in 1985, Gunn has poured thousands of dollars into renovating and maintaining the century-old family home.

Despite these investments, the value of her house was still low due to the condition of other houses in the area.

Gunu said, “Since this is my grandfather’s house, I was eager to take a chance. But the evaluation values ​​were so low, it was disappointing.

Building West Fayette Street and above

As part of the Block-by-Block Initiative, HomeFree-USA purchased 14 homes on West Fayette Street, including a few doors down from the Gunn family home. After the renovations were completed, the house recently sold for more than five times Gunn’s appraised value.

“When you see work being done and people actually buying the houses and moving in — it’s been worth it for us to stay,” Gunn said.

So far, HomeFree-USA has completed renovations on 10 of its properties. As a result of these efforts, residents living in the area have seen their home values ​​increase compared to a few years ago.

The initial wealth-building benefits are obvious, but the emotional impact that investments in often-neglected areas encourage is just as important.

“People need to feel that change is happening and that things are getting better,” says HomeFree’s Griffin. “Everyone wants a better situation; they may not know how to get it or who to trust.

That’s why Griffin hopes the Block-by-Block initiative will continue to grow and make a difference in the lives of current and future homeowners.

“Our goal is to go from block to city, city to city, even state,” Griffin said.

To learn more about how home ownership can help build wealth over time, visit Freddie Mac’s Home®.

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