Over the course of the last seven years, African American wealth has been decimated as a result of the foreclosure crisis in the United States. According to statistics, nearly 53% of Black wealth was wiped out as a result.
Washington Post’, national economics correspondent Michael Fletcher highlighted the impact of the housing crisis on Prince George’s County in Maryland. This municipality is considered to be one of the most affluent Black counties in America and has not escaped the erosion of wealth as a result of the nation’s economic downturn.
Fletcher writes in his Washington Post column:
African Americans for decades flocked to Prince George’s County to be part of a phenomenon that has been rare in American history: a community that grew more upscale as it became more black.
The county became a national symbol of the American Dream with a black twist. Families moved into expansive new homes, with rolling lawns, nearby golf courses and, most of all, neighbors who looked like them. In the early 2000s, home prices soared — some well beyond $1 million — allowing many African Americans to build the kind of wealth their elders could only imagine.
But today, the nation’s highest-income majority-black county stands out for a different reason: Its residents have lost far more wealth than families in neighboring, majority-white suburbs. And while every one of these surrounding counties is enjoying a strong rebound in housing prices and their economies, Prince George’s is lagging far behind, and local economists say a full recovery appears unlikely anytime soon.
Roland Martin and “NewsOne Now” looked at the foreclosure crisis latest victim, Price George’s Country and how vital home ownership is to African Americans building as well as sustaining wealth.
Fletcher told Martin,”The idea of home ownership works differently in our community.”
“Home ownership is the foundation of wealth for all Americans and for the average American that is where their wealth will be, but in African American communities across this nation you see this,” Fletcher said. He added, if you go to L.A. there are neighborhoods that are beautiful neighborhoods but “do not command the same prices as homes in other parts of that area.”
Fletcher called this trend a “national phenomenon” and thinks race is tied to the alarming housing stats and “there is no getting around it.”
Listen to Martin, Fletcher, Monique Pressly, Dr. Wilmer Leon and Michelle Hudgins discuss the causes of the financial crisis and the impact the crisis has had on the African American community in the audio clip below.
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