Town Offers Free Property to New Residents, But There's a Catch

claremont, minnesotaIf you've been thinking of starting off the new year in a new town to cut expenses, we may have found just the place for you!

The city of Claremont, Minnesota -- population: 542 -- is offering 14 residential properties for free in the hope of attracting newcomers who might be willing to build homes on these no-cost lots.


While the town has had a sign posted offering these free properties for the past two years, no takers have come calling until recently when television stations and newspapers picked up the story, according to

Even Claremont Mayor Don Gray realizes it sounds like a scam, telling the local news station, "You drive by and you see that sign and it says free lots, and you say, 'Yeah, right!'" 

So, what's the catch? To qualify for one of these free properties, a family of two must earn less than $74,200 a year, while a family of three or more should make less than $85,330.

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We have to wonder: Can a family earning under those levels really take on building a home on the lot? What about covering the additional costs of property taxes and homeowner's insurance?  

The properties, valued at $30,000 a piece, became vacant when a development deal fell through back in the early 2000s, leaving the city with the empty lots and a $450,000 bond payment. Yikes!

While this is certainly a creative way to gentrify the area, it seems a little unrealistic ...

Still, thanks to the recent headlines, the city is at last getting some interest -- from as far away as Africa, no less. It'll be fascinating to see if Claremont is finally able to give this land away!

Would you be wiling to take the city up on this offer?


Image via MattZaske/Flickr

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