The average selling price of a home in the city has been on a steady decline since the shooting of Brown last August, according to housing data compiled from MARIS, an information and statistics service for real estate agents. Prior to Brown’s death, the average home sold in 2014 was selling for $66,764. For the last three and a half months of the year, the average home sold for $36,168, a 46 percent decrease.Something to note is that even before the Eye of Sauron turned toward Ferguson last August, the average home sales price was only $66,764. That’s not much of a tax base to pay for expensive accoutrements like a lot of black cops. As Countenance pointed out last year, black guys who meet the basic standards for being a cop (high school grad, literate, clean record, not too low of an IQ, not too fat) have better options in the St. Louis area than working for the Ferguson PD: work for wealthier places that pay more or for peaceful exurban places that don’t have much stressful work for you to do.
The trend has continued on through this year, with the average home selling for only $22,951 so far in 2015. Another negative indicator: in the eight and a half months leading up to Brown’s death, the average residential square foot in 2014 was selling for $45.82. In the eight and a half months since Brown’s passing, the average residential square foot in the city has sold for $24.11. That’s about a 47 percent downtick in one of real estate’s core indicators.
Ferguson struck me as a pretty successful example of the process of managed decline in inner ring suburbs without rapid white flight. The adult children of white homeowners wouldn’t buy into Ferguson because they want whiter schools for their children, but older white homeowners weren’t being driven from their homes by crime. Eventually, they’d get toward retirement and sell out to a black family. They wouldn’t get all that much for their houses, but they were leaving on their own schedules, not being driven out.
Similarly, black homeowners seemed reasonably satisfied with city government, since they weren’t bothering to organize to take over politically. (Of course, I don’t believe there is much of a tax base to take over, so there wasn’t much incentive.)
Was this the worst thing in the world?
Yes, apparently, it was the Worst Thing in the World.