The Radical Center
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The Radical Center

The Million Dollar Denver Shack: Memes are for Morons

Memes are to the body politic what viruses are to the actual body.

My problem with memes is they often tackle complex subjects simplistically or highly dishonestly. Many memes falsify facts.

Here is one meme currently going around and what I found when I verified the facts. I will show the meme first, its a variation of one used for multiple locations and usually with the same falsification of facts.

On the face of it, the meme looks a bit absurd — and it is. That one mansion for $200,000 is quite an amazing find, as is the $300,000 one in Pittsburgh. It’s almost too good to be true. In fact, it isn’t true. The entire meme is false from top to bottom. It only took five minutes to prove nothing in the meme is accurate but people spreading it around as gospel truth won’t invest the time to find out if they are spreading facts or fiction pretending to be facts.

To investigate the claim I first had to find the actual buildings depicted, or find where the photos came from. Second, I needed to determine what the values was for the buildings depicted.

The first building is actually for sale, but the $200,000 “selling price” wouldn’t even be enough to cover a deposit on it, were you to try to purchase it. The house is located at 5799 Sunset Lane, Indianapolis. It’s a six bedroom house with three baths and is currently on the market for a hefty $5.8 million, not for a paltry $200,000. Below is a screen capture of the listing from a real estate page. If you have spare change and want to buy it follow this link.

The second building in the meme can be found at 5105 5th Ave, Pittsburgh but it is not valued at $300,000 and it is not for sale. It did sell in 2018 but the price was $4 million according to It is actually a high priced hotel called “The Mansions on Fifth.” The building, once a mansion for a wealthy individual, was turned into apartments and rented out until a fire in 2004. After the fire it sold for $1.4 million and another $2 million was invested in renovations. It later sold for the $4 million and became a luxury hotel.

The comparison is obviously bogus if the meme intentionally distorts the prices of the two properties used for comparison. So, what about the third property—the $1.8 million shack supposedly on the market in Denver. It’s a stock photo that is rented to websites by Shutterstock. It’s available for anyone to use “royalty-free” and is merely marked “suburb, usa” by them. Someone clearly went hunting for photos to make their claim and then concocted fake prices to “prove” their point.

Now, they could still have a valid point, if the typical home in Denver were a $1.8 million shack. And, if shacks sold for almost $2m then your more typical homes would have be $3m or more. The problem is the median house price in Denver for last year was $409,900 according to Denver’s Metro Association of Realtors. This mean half the homes in the city are priced below $409,900 and half are price above it. In other words, you won’t be paying $1.8 million for a shack in Denver.

Series: Previous columns of the Memes are for Morons series linked below.
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James Peron

James Peron

James Peron is the president of the Moorfield Storey Institute, was the founding editor of Esteem a LGBT publication in South Africa under apartheid.