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HGTV’s Hidden Dark Side

At a time when home ownership in the U.S. is at an all-time low, HGTV real estate shows are hot. They are an escapist fantasy, like most TV is. People watch while dreaming of being in the position of the people who are buying and renovating their dream home on TV. We already know that the homes people "select" are often houses they've already purchased, but you might not know that getting a real estate bargain, whether to live in, to rent out, or to flip, often comes at a cost for the neighborhood: gentrification, and the eviction of the people who can no longer afford to live there. Some of them still live in those homes as they are being sold.

Tarek and Christina El Moussa, the now-divorced hosts of Flip or Flop, discovered as much in 2015 when they attempted to host a house flipping seminar in Portland, Oregon, a city buckling under the consequences of its lack of affordable housing. The pair was forced to postpone the event and others in the Pacific Northwest indefinitely after a wave of backlash online. The couple told the Orange County Register in 2013 that evicting people, including families, is a regular part of the home flipping process. “I’ll buy any house, any condition (and) any location as long as I can get it at the right price,” Tarek told the paper. That potentially troubling aspect of home renovation never makes in onto Flip or Flop, however. If it did, the show might not be in the position to be renewed for its seventh season on the network and have its hosts profiled in the New York Times.

The Outline looks at several cases where the story you don't see on TV is more interesting than the sale or renovation. -via Digg

(Image credit: Brendel)

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