Housing Shortage

Bill Dickinson/Flickr

A 25' lot in Duluth isn't even as wide as two Volkswagen Beetles parked end-to-end. 

So when setbacks are required to be 6' on all sides of a house and the law requires houses to be at least 20' wide ... that makes for a lot of vacant lots in the city.

But Duluth's been updating its zoning codes to keep step with Minnesota's updated building codes, and that means good news for folks with their eyes on a vacant city lot.

Rachel Whyte/HGTV

It costs more to build a house than it used to, but Duluth's challenging terrain makes the numbers - and your head spin.

Blasting through bedrock to put in utilities and other infrastructure can add $80 thousand dollars to a project right off the top.

Solution?  One of the ideas identified at the 2014 Housing Summit was a page right from HGTV's book: fix up, renovate and modernize aging houses and get existing, foreclosed and condemned properties back on the market.