Black neighborhoods in Washington continue to struggle — and that doesn’t surprise anyone

Today, black neighborhoods are not exactly experiencing a boomlet. Of the 11 neighborhoods in Washington covered by The Washington Post’s analysis of median home prices, which reporter David Jackson tested from 2002 to 2014, eight had lost median home prices when he crunched the numbers.

The good news is that median prices did rise in 16 of the city’s 202 neighborhoods by May 2015, increasing an average of 22 percent between 2002 and 2014. But the problem is that increases were notable only in wealthy neighborhoods. That “proves that what was meaningful about the changing stock of neighborhoods came from the white suburbs and Washington’s central business district” said Jackson. In other words, housing booms didn’t largely affect black neighborhoods, where demand has not been high enough to warrant being kept afloat by an upscale brand of real estate.

“Only 21 of the 202 neighborhoods had median-home-price increases exceeding 15 percent,” Jackson wrote. “That’s because the nine Arlington and Fairfax County neighborhoods that had triple-digit price increases in the past decade had not been any more affordable than the rest of the city’s neighborhoods in the 2000s.”

Consider, for example, some of the city’s most expensive neighborhoods:

The report on median home prices from 2002 to 2015 (the most recent data available) shows that the most expensive “Minority Run” neighborhoods in D.C. are now having price declines, with the median home value in Morgan’s Woods and Corinthia Heights dropping 13 percent between 2010 and 2015.

By contrast, Lafayette Park “White Run” neighborhoods on Capitol Hill saw median home prices growing 42 percent between 2002 and 2015. That district around Pennsylvania Avenue’s Mile Marker 651, was ranked 31st on the report, where most cities usually lie in the bottom half of a list of 100 neighborhoods for various economic characteristics.

There is a difference between economic metrics and housing statistics though, and those do not paint the same picture. The details of economic metrics can be important and the kinds of people who make up the majority of Zip Codes and counties vary considerably from certain areas of the city.

“I believe it is vital to recognize the economic benefits that real estate can bring to black residents, the entire city and the region,” Washington Post business reporter Andre Blake wrote in a blog post.

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