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October 28, 2009 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2009-10-28

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0 0 0 r

Living n the trap of luxury
Ann Arbor's most expnsive student ousing isn't quite worth the price
By Trevor Calero II Daily News Editor

WednesdayU.TS"0 . T EEE

I had a house for
homeless people. Now,
I'm homeless."
- SHERI WEST, a resident of Cleveland,
Ohio, explaining how she lost her home
last spring as a result of foreclosure. A few
years ago, West ran a group shelter for
homeless people, doing their laundry and
cookingtorthem, until she couldn't afford it

"For...everyone who walks
through the doors, their
claims are taken at face
- YOLANDA B. JIMENEZ, a woman who works
with victims of domestic violence at the mayor's
office in New York City, explaining the city's policy
after it was discovered that six women lied about
being domestically abused in order to get housing
subsidies from the city government

4 Eleven Lofts

9 minutes - Walk to 'Block M
$165 - Price of a parking spot

$795 - Rent per person for a four
bedroom, two bathroom apartment

The urban-inspired rooms and sleek, minimalist Residents complained aboui the size of the fitness
furniture at 4 Eleven Lofts look more Manhattan room (there are only six machines), as well as noise
than Ann Arbor. And because the building is just two traveling through the paper-thin walls.
blocks from Main Street, there are countless nearby "You can hear everything that goes on in the other
bars, restaurants and other entertainment venues. apartments," Business junior Ian Mark said. "Our
Like Zaragon Place and The Courtyards, 4 Eleven neighbors complain about us all the time."
Lofts has a fitness room for residents and provides And though residents laud the proximity to down-
an HD flat-screen television for each living room. All town, anyone with classes farther than Angell Hall
utilities, including cable and Internet, are covered has a much longer commute.
with a flatrate of $95- which can be a deal, consider- "I'm a B-school student so my walk is brutal,"
ing high winter heatingbills for drafty older houses. Business sophomore Jake Barnett said. "I know in
The benefits of living at 4 Eleven, however, end the winter it's going to be really tough."
there. The rooms are small and don't come with light- Our advice: Proximity to the Main Street bars is
ing, while storage space is seriously lacking. There definitely a plus for graduate students and seniors
are no closets and the armoires that come with the who are tired of South University nightlife. But you
rooms take up what precious space there is. can find a cheaper place with better insulated walls.

Three things you can talk about this week:
1. Unlawful lease clauses
2. Ex-A.I.G Chief Maurice Greenberg
3. Paul Haggis on Scientology
And three things you can't:
1. The off-campus housing rush
2. Seeing the South U. fire
3. Dick Cheney on Afghanistan

"I have never seen anything this bad."
- DAN TISHMAN, head of Tishman Construction, describing how the current housing bubble will
soon affect commercial real estate owners, whose shopping malls, hotels and apartment buildings
will suffer a drastic decrease in value. This decline in prices will make it harder to pay mortgages

4 minutes - Walk to 'Block M'
$180 - Price of a parking spot
Location, location, location. The biggest perk to
living at Zaragon Place is a short walk to Central
Campus. It's right across the street from the library,
the Ross School of Business and numerous South
University bars and restaurants.
The fitness room is huge and the concrete walls
and ceilings help to insulate the sound, blocking out
noise from the endless parties that seem to happen
in the building.
"There are a lot of parties up on the ninth floor,"
LSA junior Kate Slaga said. "But as soon asI go down
(to my apartment), I can't hear a single thing. They'll
be blasting music and you can't hear it at all."
The ninth floor is home to eight two-story pent-
houses that provide a view of the South University
area - for whatever that might be worth.

$1,100 - Rent per person for a four
bedroom, two bathroom apartment
Zaragon currently features an on-site cafe on the
main floor, with soups, salads and sandwiches. And
with a grocery store on the way, residents will soon
be able to have beer, wine and pre-packaged meals
delivered to their door. Residents gave the person-
able staff high marks.
Boasting a convenient location and above average
amenities, Zaragon is by far one of the most expen-
sive student-focused apartment buildings in Ann
Arbor. Residents say it's worth it, but these residents
are also more affluent students.
Our advice: If you can afford it, Zaragon's a great
place to live. Nothing beats the location and on-site
food services, and the residents sure know how to
have fun. But do you really need to be paying this
much to live in Ann Arbor?

Zaragon Place

Bubble trouble
For many college students, the
housing bubble remains an inscru-
table concept, something about
refinancing and equity and adjust-
ahle-rate mortgages. And why is it
even called a huhhle in the first place?
Well, this video hopes to answer
that question. Set to a folksy tune
with a catchy beat, the video fea-
tures the animated story of Johnny
Homoner (pronounced with long
"o's"), a stick figure who becomes a
victim of the housing crisis.
When we first meet Johnny, he
is reading a newspaper with "Buy
Homes Now" scrawled across the
front page. Suddenly, bubbles filled
with illustrations of houses are
swirling around him, with the nar-
rator singing, "It was worth 250, but
appraised for double." At which point,
Johnny touches a bubble that has
250,000 written inside it; the bub-
ble pops, and the number magically
changes to 500,000.
Johnny is eventually seduced by a
lender, who encourages him to buy a
new houseand quickly refinance it.
Next, we see Johnny relaxing on the
beach, a drink in hand. You know
where this is going.
His rate resets, and he can no lon-
ger afford his mortgage. When John-
ny reappears, he's sleeping on a park



Landlord Summit - It's house-hunting season. All
your friends are probably signing leases with crooked
landlords, who are charging them exorbitant rent
prices and demanding the insurance deposit up
front. Instead of being cheated, you should convene
a meeting with your friends to discuss Landlord
Diplomacy. This must include, among other things,
reading Henry Kissinger's memoirs. Just remember:
lower rent equals more beer.
Throwing this party? Let us know. TheStatement@umich.edu


The Courtyards

36 minutes - Walk to 'Block M' $699 - Rent per person for a four
$90 or $110 - Price of a parking spot- bedroom, four bathroom apartment

Yes, it's on North Campus. If you have classes in
Lorch, go to parties on Greenwood and eat at Sadako
for every meal, then The Courtyards are out of the
But for Engineering majors and School of Art &
Design students, nothingbeats this value-priced pick.
The Courtyards are the cheapest of the three luxu-
ry studentecomplexes, and rife with amenities: tanning
beds, a badminton court, a 24-hour fitness room, a
state-of-the art theater room with stadium seating and
surround sound, study rooms on every floor and mul-
tiple common areas that provide grills, fireplaces and
gaming systems for the residents free of charge. Each
bedroom also comes with its own private bathroom. .

"I've had the experience of living on Central and
now on North. It was a factor to consider," Engineer-
ing junior Katelyn Videto said. "But I can honestly tell
you there isn't anything I don't like aboutbeing here."
The Courtyards apartments aren't loft-style or
urban. The rooms are simple and pleasantly decorated,
more like a parent's home than a friend's city apart-
Our advice: Don't live here if you have no business
being on North Campus. But if the majority of your
classes are there, and your friends are too, The Court-
yards are yourbestbet (free tanning andbadminton).
Hell, if North Campus wasn't so damn far away, we
might even consider living there.

The percentage by which existing home sales increased in September,
the highest level in two years
The median price, in dollars, of homes sold in September. The figure
is 8.5 percent less than the median price of homes a year ago
The percentage of home sales in September that involved distressed
properties like foreclosures

See this and other
YouTube videos ofthe week at
I If

Rising unemployment increases foreclosures
The number of houses facing foreclosure increased more than
five percent from July to September, a trend that is largely due
to rising unemployment, according to a report recently released
hy RealtyTrac Snc., a firm that specializes in monitoring foreclo-
The report indicated that almost 938,000 properties were hit
with foreclosure during that three-month period, an increase from
the preceding three months, when 890,000 properties were fore-
closed. Given these numbers, the report stated, foreclosures could
reach 3.5 million by the end of the year. Last year, 2.3 million prop-
erties were affected by foreclosure.
Despite President Obama's efforts to provide federal assistance
to borrowers, the surging unemployment rate - currently 9.8 per-
cent - has produced a steady stream of people who are defaulting
on their mortgages.

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