They were neighborhoods which people only spoke of when warning newcomers and guests to the city. The idea of them being markets where you would invest in a home or a condo, a complete joke—financial and possibly even full fledged suicide.

And while this might still be the reality for some of these areas, a number of them have become fledgling real estate markets that demand attention of anyone looking to invest in property. What’s even stranger, however, is that the house and condominum prices in these markets have not been driven entirely by traditional forces. Rather, in a number of them prices and demand for property have been sparked by none other than the last culprit you would ever associate with real estate—artists.

From Detroit to San Diego, the overhaul of these markets has been remarkable. Artists have always been known to move into areas with depressed property values due to their modest incomes and need for large apartments to store their supplies. However, with the poor economy and the lack of part-time jobs for these artists, the influx has never been so pronounced. As they move into their new homes they replace tenants associated with the neighborhood’s old reputation. Additionally, the goods and services they demand drive new businesses to fill vacated and dilapidated properties. This transformation only makes the neighborhood more desirable and prices of apartments and condos soon rise to meet the new demand.

The number of no-man’s land markets turned hot real estate destinations abound. There is Los Angeles’ Historic Core, San Francisco’s Tenderloin and many others; but perhaps the most dramatic example of a previously dead housing market being put on the map is San Diego’s downtown and East Village. Largely a ghost town for many years, downtown San Diego suffered because residents opted to invest in property closer to the beach. However, with the revitalization of the Gaslamp Quarter and the building of Petco park, demand for housing in the area began to go from next to till to white hot.  East Village—an area previously known for drugs and prostitution—has become the home a number of new condominium high rises.

Developers, artists and athletes across the nation are looking to their downtowns as a new place to call home. Now more than ever might be the time to get in before this property gets too hot to handle!

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