"In the last decade, while houses in much of the country have appreciated at dizzying rates, Canton's prices have gone the other way; the median price in the metro area dropped 11.3 percent from 2004 to 2005, according to the National Association of Realtors. Houses under $20,000 are common, and even at those prices, they don't always find buyers." In 1950, Canton had 110,000 residents; the current population is about 80,000. Closing factories and few new jobs caused the city's depopulation; and many of Canton's old Victorian houses have become rental properties.
Within the community, there are different approaches to abandoned houses. Mayor Janet Weir Creighton says: 'We're tired of the dilapidated houses that are sitting there; we need to get them down.' Mike Rukavina, a real estate investor who was born and raised in Canton, believes in renovation because the lots that result from teardowns are too narrow to build on under current codes. Rukavina explains: "That means you end up with a weed-strewn lot, which the city doesn't have the resources to maintain. And since you can't build another house, it's a net loss of people to the city."