Outside buyers are the latest in a long line of landlords taking over the deteriorating housing stock of a city that because of its once mighty auto industry boasted one of the highest owner-occupied housing rates in the U.S. And unlike many large cities, Detroit's single-family homes dominate its landscape, not high-rise apartment buildings.

The outside investors aren't only interested in Detroit, but it's been targeted because of the sheer volume of homes and the fact that values have fallen so much more than elsewhere.

We are really having quite a struggle to figure out what these investors think they are going to get out of Detroit. Are these houses cash-flow positive as rentals? Given the high level of vacancies, that seems like a dicey prospect. The biggest problem is Detroit's economy, and where it is going. It's generally not a good idea to invest in real estate in a contracting area. And that trend doesn't seem set to end anytime soon.

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