The housing market in Flint, Michigan, wasn't great before the city's tainted water started poisoning residents. Now, the median home price in Flint is an unbelievable $14,000, CNN reports. Flint was hit especially hard by the 2008 housing crash, losing about 75% of its real estate value. Seven years later, before the water crisis started making national headlines, Flint's real estate market was still ranked the least healthy in the country, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Then in December, reports of dangerous levels of lead in the water dropped home prices another 8%—the steepest decline in the country. That's how you end up with a 1,200-square-foot, three-bedroom home on the market for $12,500.
The part that really stings is Flint's housing market was actually starting to finally recover from 2008 prior to the water crisis, which one real estate agent says was a "momentum killer." Now, Flint has more than 11,600 vacant homes—about one in 14. That's nearly five times the national average. But that doesn't mean there are a lot of homes to buy, even if interested buyers were plentiful. One real estate agent says many of the homes have become so dilapidated that no one would ever buy them. Still, even with the city under a state of emergency, the real estate market in Flint hasn't completely stopped: 116 homes sold in January and February. The cheapest went for a buck. "It's a good time to buy," a real estate agent tells CNN. "The payment is less than if you were to rent a house."