Maybe different groups have different gifts?
frican Americans for decades flocked to Prince George’s County to be part of a phenomenon that has been rare in American history: a community that grew more upscale as it became more black.
The county became a national symbol of the American Dream with a black twist. Families moved into expansive new homes, with rolling lawns, nearby golf courses and, most of all, neighbors who looked like them. In the early 2000s, home prices soared — some well beyond $1 million — allowing many African Americans to build the kind of wealth their elders could only imagine.
DASHED DREAMS: This is the first part in a series looking at the plight of the black middle class, particularly in Maryland’s Prince George’s County, the nation’s highest-income majority-black county.
Part 2: Half of the loans on newly constructed homes in one Prince George’s County subdivision during the housing boom in 2006 and 2007 wound up in foreclosure.
Part 3: The plight of the Boateng family, who face more than $1 million in debt, shows how some of the people swallowed up by the easy credit era have yet to reemerge.
But today, the nation’s highest-income majority-black county stands out for a different reason — its residents have lost far more wealth than families in neighboring, majority-white suburbs. And while every one of these surrounding counties is enjoying a strong rebound in housing prices and their economies, Prince George’s is lagging far behind, and local economists say a full recovery appears unlikely anytime soon.
The same reversal of fortune is playing out across the country as black families who worked painstakingly to climb into the middle class are seeing their financial foundation for future generations collapse. Although African Americans have made once-unthinkable political and social gains since the civil rights era, the severe and continuing damage wrought by the downturn — an entire generation of wealth was wiped out — has raised a vexing question: Why don’t black middle-class families enjoy the same level of economic security as their white counterparts?
The Washington Post article is the same type of dreary nonsense you expect from the MSM but the commenters are much sharper:
* Do you wish to understand the depressed property values in Prince George’s County?
Here’s Violent Crimes by County for 2013:
And here’s some recent information about high school graduation rates:
So, if the county could just cut its rates of violent crime down to something approaching the Maryland state average . . . and if it could boost its educational achievement to something approaching the state average, then property values would soar. But, of course, then it wouldn’t be anything like PG County.
* Oh the horror. It has to be …….dare I say it…..RACISM! BS! How about these good folks try something novel in this day and age……LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS AND SAVE MONEY.
* Many Asian immigrants showed up equally impoverished, yet they have the highest test scores, attend the best schools, and have great paying jobs. Blaming the distant past is faulty logic at best. It has a lot more to do with discipline, work ethic, and willingness to succeed in school.
* Why hasn’t the thing kept down the Irish in this country?
* Many white people come from families with no money and manage to save, invest and get ahead through thrift and hard work. GI Bill is and always has been color blind so stop with that lie. The folks in this story are making over six figures annually and somehow they are in financial trouble. Living beyond your means knows no color barriers and is an equal opportunity path to failure.
* This isn’t a case of predatory lending, or destruction of wealth. It’s a case of living beyond your means. Plain and simple. Did they really need a single family 3,600 sf house with granite countertops, tiled floors, two NEW cars?
The Washington Post perpetually paints black folks as victims, but in the Bryant’s case this clearly a case of making bad financial decisions and a clear cut case of not living within your means.
* Yes, there are “racial differences”, but so what? Nobody held a gun to any of these people’s heads and forced them to take out a loan. How long do you keep living your lives doing stupid stuff and blaming others for it?
* Reporters are financial illiterates, but stories about black families living beyond their means, buying new cars and going on expensive vacations doesn’t assuage their “white guilt” by blaming it on decades of “racism.” No racist white KKK member told them to buy a 3,600 sf house, or two new cars, or take expensive vacations, or live in a neighborhood that has high crime rates and lower property values. Yes, the Bryants got more for their money in PG county, but like Stockton and Vallejo in California, they were boom and bust regions. Can’t blame racism for that.
* WTF did you need private school for? We bought during that time and the real estate agents were trying to convince us that we could “afford” a lot more house. I told them to stuff it. We knew darn well what we could afford and were buying below that just in case the market crashed – which it did. Predatory lending is bunk – no one put a gun to these folks heads and forced them to borrow over 1/2 million bucks.
* Why would banks take the risk? One riot and all that money goes up in flames. The risk outweighs the possible gain. Where whites typically don’t riot and burn their own neighborhoods, the risk doesn’t outweigh the possible gain. Its simple banking.
* My sister-in-law was a loan officer at a bank during the housing boom in the 2000s. She approached me about refinancing to an ‘interest only’ loan. When I pointed out I wanted to keep paying on the principal and getting rid of payments at some point she reassured me the rising equity of my house would cover the loan and I could have more money in my pocket now. I thought this was a terrible idea and said so. She countered my thinking was “old thinking” and “everyone” was going to interest only loans now. My grandparents came to this country legally and were discriminated against socially and in employment opportunities because they were ‘foreigners’ and couldn’t speak a word of English. When she said “old thinking” I think she was referring to my grandparents from the Old Country. What I want to know is, do I have an EEOC case against my sister-in-law and her bank for trying to prey on me?
* Many states have online land records, these are public records.
This isn’t rocket science. And whoever had the assignment to fact check this story should be fired.
* Lets see-Blacks voted 99% for Obama in 2 presidential elections.Now after 6 years with a black President they are much worse off-what is the explanation.
* The Post did a real bad thing by not fact checking this story. Some simple review of the land records, available online shows a very different story. The Bryants kept their condo in Hyattsville when they bought this house. They stripped the equity out of that property, as well on the same day they refinanced their home in February of 2005. They then refinanced the primary home again in 2007.
Between 2005 and 2007, it appears that their primary residence mortgage balance went from $368k to 540k, as they refinanced twice, each time taking more money out. That’s a 150k taken out in two years on the primary and a 72k on the rental. The condo was sold in 2006 for $219k. Just on a basic review, it looks like they had over $250k in monies taken out from the properties and sale in just a few years and spent it all.
Do your homework, Post writers. This is pathetic that you didn’t back check this to make your claims of predatory lending.
* I have lived in PG County for 50 years. There is a big hole in this article. Shame on the Post for allowing it into print.
There is chronic corruption and incompetent public service in PG County. Our leaders are the most corrupt in the area with the possible exception of DC. Our schools are among the worst. Our police and fire departments have one scandal after another. We are a running joke among the other jurisdictions in the area.
No one with a brain would move into this county. I only stay due to inertia. My house is paid for and my children are all grown and gone. They live nowhere near PG County.
* This is not a real estate story, or a discrimination story, or a “predatory lending” story. It is a story of black pathology (see below). Who, in god’s name, would really want to buy a home in Prince George’s County, except blacks? Thus, prices fall.
From Wikipedia: “Prince George’s County accounted for 20% of murders in the state of Maryland from 1985 to 2006. … the county had a 23.1% increase in total crime for the years of 2000 to 2004. Between the years of 1984 to 2004, Prince George’s had a 62.8% increase in total crime. However, as of 2009, crime had generally declined in the county and the number of homicides declined from 151 in 2005 to 99 in 2009.”
* The article basically implies that blacks as a group are dumber than whites.
If it didn’t imply this, it would instead focus on how people (regardless of race) who can’t manage their money really got hurt by the predatory lending scams and the subsequent recession. And how too many Americans are just stupid in general.
Anybody who falls for these scams doesn’t have the maturity or intelligence to be responsible for these decisions. It’s hard to feel sorry for people who are having a hard time due to their myriad poor choices.
* “The county became a national symbol of the American Dream with a black twist. Families moved into expansive new homes, with rolling lawns, nearby golf courses and, most of all, neighbors who looked like them.”
Can you imagine the Washington Post writing that about white families like its a good thing?
* Anyone making an $800/month car payment on a BMW or Escalade has NO right complaining about how they can’t make their mortgage. Once again, certain people cry “racism” to mask their own poor decision-making skills.
* So when gentrification takes place in DC and housing values skyrocket the natives get mad because they’re priced and pushed out. To the east of the city where there is less gentrification, the locals are outraged that they haven’t enjoyed capital appreciation like the rest of the region and they CAN’T move out. Other than pointing out the obvious, what do you want? Pity?
* Back in 2005 banks were being attacked by Barney Frank and the rest of the liberal Democrat mob for being “racist” and discriminating against black folks in lending practices. Therefore, a lot of pressure was placed on banks to make loans to the same black folks, even though they would risk default if the economy went south or interest rates went up. Once again, the lying liberal media distorts the facts in order to peddle their ludicrous agenda, instead of holding people responsible for their own actions.
* And guess what? Attorney General Eric Holder is already pressuring banks to lend more to minorities again. Later on when many of these loans fail, Dems will claim that the “disparate impact” proves that there was racist predatory lending.
* First lesson in life, if a solicitor calls you, hang up, whatever he’s selling is not to your advantage.
Second lesson, don’t live beyond your means.
Third, save for a rainy day.
* HOWEVER, when I came upon this qualifier tucked in halfway through the article (“The Post was unable to determine from the documents several factors that are likely to influence the types of loans borrowers are able to secure, including credit history, income and assets”), I couldn’t help but view the article’s claims as somewhat suspect. Why devote so much ink to this topic when such critical factors as credit history, income and assets were not analyzed?
* Hey, here’s a novel idea WaPo! How about doing an expose on all of the people who were not greedy, status-chasing idiots? How about doing a story on the rest of us, who were prudent, intelligent, and more than able to read the financial details and ramifications of the loan documents we were about to sign? How about doing a story about all of the prudent, hard working citizens who will be paying for all the morons who got bailed out, whether via reduced pension investment returns or paying off the public credit card?
How about not labeling the greedy idiotic behavior of EVERY SINGLE FAMILY in these stories as black victimhood?
* “She also liked that it was still largely black.”
How’s that not racist?
* IF a white person stated they liked to live in a community that was still largely white there would be an outrage.
* The Post should start a new section of the paper titled “Mugged by Reality”. These stories belong in that section and not front page above the fold.
Steve Sailer: From the Washington Post, a story of an African immigrant family who have racked up $1.3 million in debt, even while not paying their mortgage for over six years.
Is plight exactly the right word to describe somebody who has not had to pay to live in a new 3,292 square foot house for the last six years? And who owns a second home?
Research has suggested that the subprime bubble looked in part like an Affinity Group Scam. A lot of the worst loans were made to minorities by co-ethnics who had gotten into the mortgage business as part of the financial world’s enthusiastic Drive for Diversity.
… Hispanics (mostly immigrants, presumably) had worse foreclosure rates in Prince George’s County than did blacks overall. From a study of foreclosures in Prince George’s County by Katrin B. Anacker, James H. Carr, and Archana Pradhan:
White: 1.91% (372 foreclosures)
Hispanic: 6.42% (3.4X the white rate, 1,091 foreclosures)
Black: 3.62% (1.9X the white rate, 4,219 foreclosures)
That implies that being an immigrant is a risk factor for default…
Everybody knows that a great way to select people is through a random lottery. That’s why Harvard lets in 500 applicants per year at random. Goldman Sachs annually puts all the resumes they receive in a spinning drum and hires the first 200 they grab. Bill Belichick always makes one of his annual NFL draft picks by throwing darts at a list of all the college football players in America.
COMMENTS TO STEVE SAILER:
* Amazing how the financial industry took advantage of these hard-working immigrants who just wanted a better life.
* I have to say I find this article quite enlightening. I hope the Post readers make it all the way through to the end. Plenty of American 21st century problems are illustrated brilliantly.
She has two bachelor degrees and a masters. And 90k in student debt and no job.
They rent out a home and the tenant won’t pay. And it takes MONTHS and legal bills to get rid of a bad tenant.
They accumulate mountains of debt. This means they’re able to make payments and are eligible for bigger mountains of debt. This sounds like Greece.
As soon as they can, they bring in family members from the old country. No waiting list for mom!
They get to live for free in a big, new home because the bank is too slow to kick them out. Will they owe back taxes on all that unearned income?
What did I miss?
* For a couple of rubes from nowhere, they sure took the corporate American slickers for a joyride. And the idiot “journalist” is feeling sorry for them as exemplifying something wrong with us white-boys.
* Saw this story earlier. Read a bit of it, until I just couldn’t take it anymore, and stopped in disgust. Wanted to know how many of these Blacks were government employees, since I think without affirmative action and government employment — also often the result of affirmative action — there would be practically no black middle class. And on top of that, one of my least favorite themes from the ‘mortgage meltdown’ — deadbeats living for free, and for a long time, in nice houses, whereas a renter would be thrown out on the street pronto, along with his belongings, by local law enforcement.
Here’s a photo of the reporter. Surprise!
* As a Ghanaian American, whose family lives in DC area, the Boateng’s story is not unusual sadly. The community is more tight knit and more susceptible to keeping up with Joneses than others I suppose. I know of 2 relatives and several family friends that ended up foreclosed upon in Prince Williams County.
There is an unseemly fondness for big, brand new homes among West Africans. During the run up, relatives were scoffing at my mother for not moving from her 1960s built home to a brand new one. She bought her home in the mid 90s and wasn’t interested in moving. Ironically she is the only one in the family to live in PG yet she actually has equity.
I’ve read all the articles in the series. Today the WaPo removed all comments from the previous stories and disallowed any for this new story. I guess they didn’t like the general tenor of the comments that sneered at the notion that these people are victims.
PG simply doesn’t have the fundamentals to support high home prices. The schools are rated the 2nd worse in the state of MD. Crime is comparatively higher and there are few major non-government employers.
However if one is realistic you can get a good deal. In my mother’s neighborhood of Camp Springs I’ve noticed more non-Black residents moving in. Homes go for about $200-250K the area is a 5 minute drive to the Beltway and Metro and 30 minutes to DC. You figure the money you save on housing you could easily put the kids in private school.
* Sounds like these scam artists have made out like bandits here. By my reckoning they’ve conned over a million dollars and they’re still going at it. Ultimately native-born, middle class taxpayers will be footing the bill. I’d be willing to chip in a buck or two to get these freeloaders on a plane back to Ghana.
* Given their occupations (him being an IT consultant) and educational achievements, I don’t think we’re dealing with people afflicted with extremely low IQs. We’re dealing with total and complete ignorance about the way money works. Also, it looks like the Boatengs hang out exclusively with fellow financial morons from their church community.
I know a few people like that in black immigrant communities. A lot of those people I know are legitimately educated but they come from both a country and a social class where no one knew anything at all about money.
I’m guessing that black african immigrants are more affected by the foreclosure because they’re more likely than african-americans to try to become homeowners by any means necessary.
Also, I can totally picture their pastor and church friends telling them to not worry and to let god take care of everything!
* Most of all, our Dear Rulers had no business importing the Boatengs or any of the other millions of Third Worlders they’ve imported since 1965, to the despoliation of what’s left of what used to be our country and to the corresponding simultaneous massively increasing wealth of their super-rich globalist campaign donors. Why, in the name of all that’s good and decent, do Americans need to have needlessly imported Third Worlders taking American IT and health care system worker jobs?
* The Litvin Law firm mentioned in the article wasn’t just in trouble with the Maryland AG, as mentioned. A quick Google reveals they also got into trouble in Rhode Island and New York for the same thing. Its principal is one Gennady Litvin of Brooklyn. So my guess is that we have a freedom-loving Jackson-Vanek immigrant preying on freedom-loving Ghanian immigration lottery-winning immigrants as they all clamber towards the American dream, which oddly enough has nothing to do with freedom and everything to do with monster-homes. I think there’s a Tom Wolfe novel in here.
* I also note with some interest the importation of Grandma to mind the kids. When they arrived in the USA the Boatengs had two children and gave birth to another within the next decade. It doesn’t seem to say how many they have now.
I’ve wondered for a while now about whether white families are equipped to keep up(in terms of reproduction) with non-whites who come to traditionally white nations but import their own child-rearing habits. Steve likes to periodically contrast the different marriage and family-formation customs between historical England and and China, with the former creating a culture that encouraged reproductive restraint to some extent, and the latter culture having a system that allowed a select group of men to be a fecund as humanly possible.
A can’t speak for the American experience, but in Canada, a lot of Asian(eat south, west or wherever) immigrants also import their family structures to their new homes as well. Many households in these immigrant communities are not nuclear. They often have three generations under one roof, perhaps with multiple siblings and their families, all guided by the patriarch. Thus individualism is discouraged. That’s why white politicians fall all over each other to win these non-white votes, because it’s generally a more efficient use of their time and resources.
Going back to the main point about higher reproduction, Canada’s long-lax family reunification rules have made it easy for recent immigrants to import non-productive older family members whose prospects for work are minimal (Eg. Grandma Boateng), but can easily mind children while the parents work, allowing them to save money and possibly have more children. It is also not uncommon among immigrant Chinese in the west to host older mothers and fathers, who shuttle between adult children to help whenever a new grandchild is born. In general an Asian or African wife probably wouldn’t see much out of the ordinary of her mother-in-law came to live with them and help raise the children. She might not like the idea, but it wouldn’t be outside the realm of her cultural experience.
In contrast, the individualistic western family model means that a parent generally does not cohabit with an adult offspring’s family unless they are incapable of caring for themselves, so if they are to aid their adult offspring in child-rearing(Eg babysit so the parents save on childcare), they must live nearby, which is becoming less and less frequent, especially as more and more eastern Canadian whites move west for better job prospects. So basically even with educated, law abiding types like the Boatengs, I think that by importing them, we’re basically importing people who are culturally equipped to out-birth us.
Also, if you read the original article, you’ll see that Kofi’s first job when he arrived in the US was as an “IT instructor”. Was this at a community college or as part of some corporate training gig? Either way, I’m sure that the customers, whether teenaged students or companies, felt privileged knowing that in exchange for their money, they would be taught by a man with degree in computer science at the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi.
Finally, Steve, you failed to mention that before construction started on the Albatross-home, the Boateng clan went to the building site and well, this happened:
“We sanctify the grounds with the blood of Jesus,” Kofi said.
* In Chicago in the 1990s I lived next to a 20-story public housing project for the elderly. A large fraction of the residents were East Asians who didn’t speak English. I believe most were imported by their immigrant children as child minders and the like and then turned over to the American taxpayers to house when they were no longer useful in that role.
* Another note on this “case”: I understand the weapon was never found — from the tone of the story, someone must have held a gun to their heads.
* Some simple arithmetic, based on the WaPo excerpts that Steve quotes.
The Boatengs bought their P.G. County home in November 2005, with a $60,000 down payment and two mortgages totaling $554,683.
They refinanced in September 2006, taking out a mortgage for $612,286.
During this time, the WaPo reporter claims their income was about $113,000 ($82,740 (Kofi, IT consultant for a government contractor) plus $30,000 (Comfort, administrative assistant)).
A prudent person with good future-time orientation would estimate their house payment in terms of PITI (principal, interest, taxes, and insurance) over the long term, i.e. not as the initial payments in a balloon vehicle.
Assuming 0% equity and an assessed value of $612,286:
Principal and interest, 30-year 5% fixed interest loan, monthly payment: $3,290.
P.G. County property tax, $0.96 per $100 of assessed value: $490.
Private mortgage insurance is required, costing $350-$550. Say $350.
Homeowner’s insurance will cost at least $200 per month.
Thus, the Boatengs committed to monthly payments of at least $4,300 on their new home. That’s $52,000 per year, or at least 46% of their claimed gross annual earnings.
“As a general guideline, your monthly mortgage payment, including principal, interest, real estate taxes and homeowners insurance, should not exceed 28% of your gross monthly income.”
This doesn’t take into account any of the many adverse factors mentioned by the reporter, such as the fully-mortgaged Germantown house.
Everybody who touched this ticking bomb knew that it was going to explode. The banks, the brokers, the advisors, the husband, and the wife.
Knew or should have known.
This reporter and her employer seem to hate the notion of accountability.