Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte is among the first in the nation to buy homes in troubled neighborhoods rather than build them from scratch.
The reason: the nation's mortgage crisis has made buying and renovating cheaper than building, even though Habitat uses volunteer labor.
The Charlotte Observer reports that Habitat officials say this isn't a permanent change for the agency. The group is just taking advantage of market conditions.
Associate director Meg Robertson says Habitat is buying houses for as little as $30,000, then putting in $10,000 worth of repairs. The cost of building a new home is $60,000.