Donald Judd moved to Marfa, Texas, in 1971, quickly transforming the quiet cattle town into an art world destination. Now, the city’s rising property values and similarly skyrocketing taxes are threatening to push out long-time residents, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
After a recent reappraisal by Presidio County, where Marfa is located, property values were found to have doubled in the past year to $1.14 billion, from $563 million in 2013. If you’re looking to purchase a home in Marfa, for $735,000 you can buy a five-bedroom house once owned by Judd—peanuts compared to New York real estate, but colossal by West Texas standards.
“It’s hard to find anything livable in Marfa for under $100,000, and what you get for that is a small one-bedroom,” 71-year old resident Valda Livingston told the Express-News. “We are thinning out the old-timers. The young people who grew up in Marfa for the most part can’t stay.”
Gentrification has become inseparable from burgeoning art scenes in neighborhoods like Soho and Williamsburg in New York or places Sante Fe in New Mexico, as artists pave the way for real estate developers. But to find that pattern repeating in a town of 2,000 people is startling to say the least.
Although Marfa is now recognized as a must-visit art and culture center, the transformation of the community has significant implications for its longtime inhabitants.
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