Today is the beginning of “blight week” on the Sacramento Appraisal Blog. Why am I writing about blight? There is a significant connection between property value and the upkeep and overall presentation of houses in a neighborhood. More blight equals lower property values, and less blight equals higher property values. It’s a simple equation really. On top of that, I am optimistic to the core that neighborhoods experiencing decay can once again flourish.
What is blight? It’s when a neighborhood has been allowed to decay over time. According to Merriam-Webster, blight is “a deteriorated condition”. Answers.com says blight is “the state or result of being blighted or deteriorated; dilapidation; decay: urban blight.” Most definitions really have to do with a living organism, whether a plant or neighborhood, that has experienced a breakdown or decline for whatever reason. Examples of neighborhood blight might include things like unkempt lawns, deferred maintenance as the norm, inoperable vehicles on the lawn, vacant houses, ample debris and a lower rate of owner-occupied units. Blight has nothing to do with race or cultural heritage, but it does have many causes (we won’t get into that here, but “Urban Blight” on Wikipedia might serve as a good starting place).
Over time blight tends to cripple the ethos of a community, promote all sorts of negative activity and perpetuate a sense of hopelessness. When there is little proof that anyone cares about the way a neighborhood looks, that’s usually exactly how it ends up being treated – like nobody cares.
Over these next five days we’ll look at various examples of blight. This is not about targeting particular neighborhoods or people, but rather about understanding real estate issues, taking personal responsibility, helping property values increase and sifting through what it might look like for a community to deal with elements of blight that impact not only houses – but people.
How have you seen blight impact neighborhoods and people in your community?