The Atlantic's Gillian B. White reports that while Baltimore's current median home price of $108,000 is a bargain compared to its sister cities Washington, D.C., and Alexandria, Va. (where the median values just reached $500,000), the majority of Baltimore's residents are not benefiting from lower home prices.
While white residents make up just 28% of Baltimore's population, they account for 54% of the city's loan applications, and 59% of loans granted. Black residents, who make up approximately two-thirds of its population, account for just 27% of applications, and fewer than one-quarter of all loans granted. Black applicants are twice as likely to have a mortgage applicants rejected, and if approved, are often slammed with higher interest rates.
“While majority-white neighborhoods are sites of robust lending activity, majority-black neighborhoods are consistently excluded from lending activity,” an NCRC study’s authors write. In fact, the best predictor of mortgage approval was how many white residents lived in a particular neighborhood. In poorer, more heavily black neighborhoods, lending activity was diminished, regardless of income level. That’s a problem in a city where 63% of the population is black.