Gentrification article (“Ward 5’s Changes Striking”)

Article buried inside today’s Washington Post Metro section: “Fewer Low-Income Residents Are Owners — Study Cites Past Decade’s Rising Property Values; Ward 5’s Changes Striking.” Excerpts about our ward below:

The number of low-income families obtaining mortgages to buy houses in the District has plummeted the past decade as property values have soared and the city has attracted more affluent residents, according to a new study.

The decline has been especially pronounced in Ward 5, which the report defines as a mid-priced area that includes gentrifying Northeast neighborhoods including Brookland and Eckington. In 1997, about 33 percent of buyers seeking loans for properties in the ward were low-income, a level that fell to slightly more than 3 percent in 2005. At the same time, high-income families, or those earning more than $108,000, accounted for a third of all buyers in Ward 5 in 2005, up from 5 percent in 1997.

In Ward 5, the racial breakdown also has changed. Blacks accounted for nearly 85 percent of the mortgages to buy homes there between 1997 and 2000. In 2005, that rate dropped to 53 percent. The number of loans granted to whites rose from 9 to 33 percent.

Article is written based on the standard gentrification story template: i) cite statistics; ii) obtain quotes from Realtors, think tank, District official; iii) conclude with a “what it will look like in the future” quote.

And then there is this paraphrasing at the end:

Although neighborhoods have diversified along racial and economic lines, Tatian said they could grow more homogeneous if District officials and planners do not take steps to control what is built.

So, diversification along racial and economic lines has been achieved by opening the floodgates a bit, but the gates should be closed by non-market forces to achieve some ideal demographic mixture (as determined by government or an institution, I assume)? And if Ward 5 is going to “grow more homogeneous” (emphasis added), then wouldn’t it have to be homogeneous right now?

Mr. Tatian, please come visit–grab a coffee and pain au chocolat at the Big Bear and take a walk around the neighborhood  [ed. note: Mr. Tatian is a longtime resident of Eckington–and probably has no use for your dimwitted blog.]

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2 thoughts on “Gentrification article (“Ward 5’s Changes Striking”)

  1. Actually, Mr. Tatian lives right here in Eckington and has for some time. You’ll see him post from time to time on the Eckington email list, and although I haven’t run into him Big Bear, he’s often at Windows.

  2. Well, I just thought the “grow more homogeneous” line (although, it wasn’t identified as a direct quote) seemed a little bizarre. Maybe the reporter twisted his words a bit.

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