Much like the recent (and largely ignored) property auctions in Congress Heights hardly anyone is taking notice of the condo market in Ward 8. Condo property values continue to be in a free fall here. Even for condominiums that are not experiencing a financial hardship or short-sale fire sale the falling condo prices are effecting everyone. Banks don't approve loans for more than the condo units appraise for, leaving homeowner's stuck. Plummeting comps are effecting everyone. All of these condo units first came on the market not that long ago and sold for well over $100,000 - several closer to $200,000. You have condo owners (mostly Black first-time homeowners) who have lost 50%-75% of their investment in under 5 years. As most of DC bounces back, the crisis continues east of the river.
|Two of these condominiums came online in 2007, |
listing prices started around $150k for a 1 bedroom
(photo courtesy of Remax)
I started sounding the alarm years ago that without immediate intervention we would have a serious problem on our hands. It pains me to say that help did not come. As a result of the lack of notice (and action) there has been a major downward price shift in many condo units, several Ward 8 condominiums have failed as a result. Perhaps they could have hung on or come back with nearby development but that development still has not come. As much as people want "affordable" housing they also want to live close to retail and basic amneties such as grocery stores, restaurants, etc.
All the new "affordable" housing dollars pouring into Ward 8 are not going to help any of these homeowners. I really don't know what is going to happen to them other than to give up and move away. I know several who are just renting their units out to the Housing Voucher Choice Program in hopes that the market here comes back someday. For now the only real market for these fire sale units are investors who are paying in cash. What do investors do with these units? Enroll them in the Housing Voucher Choice Program. Not a bad deal considering that HVCP will pay around $1300 for a one bedroom unit. A smart investor can make over $1,000 A MONTH in profit. Poverty pimping is a very lucrative business east of the river.
I hate to break it to you but those "rich gentrifiers in their Ward 8 condos" don't exist. The only people who got rich in Ward 8 during the housing boom of 2005 - 2007 were shady developers, shady construction companies, and shady property management companies. They flocked to east of the river and transformed apartment buildings into shoddy condominiums faster than two shakes of a lamb's tail. They knew they could practice their shady dealings east of the river and no one would notice or stop them. I'm one of the lucky few who had a honest and reputable developer, construction company and property management company. Some of my neighbors in nearby condominiums weren't so lucky.
I can't stress enough how serious the homeownership and home value situation is in Ward 8. We hit "crisis level" a long time ago. There is a bigger story here. I just wish someone (besides me) would tell it and I wish it would encourage some action -- at the very least some council hearings.
FYI -- Only 1 in 4 Ward 8 residents are homeowners.
|(photo courtesy of Remax)|
|(photo courtesy of Remax)|
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