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The cost of maintaining vacant land in the city

A new study released in November and commissioned by two city agencies takes a hard look at the cost of Philadelphia's massive collection of vacant properties, which total more than 40,000 lots.

A new study released in November and commissioned by two city agencies takes a hard look at the cost of Philadelphia's massive collection of vacant properties, which total more than 40,000 lots.

The land, which is mostly owned by private citizens or companies, costs both taxpayers — who not only support tax-delinquent lots, but also see their property values suffer — and the city in revenue and maintenance of the land, according to the report by Econsult called “Vacant Land Management in Philadelphia.”

By the numbers

30,800: Vacant lots out of a total of 40,000 in Philadelphia that are privately owned

9,200: Lots owned by the city

$20M: Cost to the city in maintenance of vacant lots, including $8 million for inspections, demolitions and cleaning; another $6 million goes to police and fire expenses

$3.6B: Estimated “lost household wealth,” which factors in reduced property values by 6.5 percent citywide and by up to 20 percent in some neighborhoods. It comes to an average of $8,000 for each household in the city.

17,000: Vacant lots that are tax delinquent — most by over a decade — owing a total of $70 million to the city and School District in back property taxes.

 
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