South DeKalb Improvement Association
South DeKalb, Georgia is nationally known as one of the wealthiest African American counties in Georgia, as well as the United States. It has beautiful homes, numerous shopping malls, lower crime rates than most surrounding areas, average household incomes similar to neighboring predominately White communities and a highly educated, professional population.
Research data reveals that most of this area's homeowners are current on their mortgage payments and there have been very few foreclosures since 2012. Unfortunately, this area and other predominately African-American communities continue to be plagued with depressed home prices while other communities with similar median incomes but higher percentages of White residents are experiencing rapid home value increases. Homes in neighboring communities are valued at 2, 3 and even 4 times the value of similar homes in South DeKalb. Average home prices are also increasing much faster in predominately White communities.
We also know that insurance companies issue insurance based on a home's "Total Replacement Cost", which is the cost to reconstruct a home if it were destroyed. Therefore, South DeKalb residents are also paying inflated prices for insurance even though our homes are appraised for much less than we paid for them. These observations are supported by the following:
Communities in the north of the county primarily have majority white populations. Communities south of Memorial Dr./Hwy 78 generally have populations consisting of 60% to 95% black and minority families.
The number of homes sold in South DeKalb each year for the past 10 years has been 2 to 3 times higher than the number of home sales in the north. Under normal market conditions, similar demand in South DeKalb should have caused values to increase at least as fast in the south than they have in the north.
Although South DeKalb County endures the perception of being a high crime area, statistics from the National Realtors Association (Moving.com) reveal that zip codes in Dunwoody, Tucker, Chamblee and the City of Decatur area actually have crime rates equal to or higher that most areas of South DeKalb
Appraised values in the south have increased very little since real estate markets have been improving, elsewhere.
Because of the artificially depressed valuations in the south, giant real estate investment companies have purchased thousands of homes in South DeKalb. This trend has transformed many south side communities into being largely investor-owned rental areas instead of owner-occupied communities. This has contributed to many economic, educational and public safety problems in South DeKalb communities
Evidence shows that giant mortgage lenders and government regulators have required or failed to prevent artificially depressed in South DeKalb and many other predominately African American communities. They have not prevented “red-lining” and other discriminatory mortgage lending practices, as required by federal Fair Housing and Fair Lending laws.
We believe home values should be determined via objective factors, rather than subjective, discriminatory opinions. Without immediate action, it will take generations to regain our lost wealth. We believe one of the ways to accelerate our ability to regain this lost wealth is by demanding that regulatory agencies, lenders, and appraisers level create a level, fair playing field.
You are invited to join our efforts and help restore vitality to our communities. Contact us to learn how you can assist and also benefit from our efforts.
Article by the Washington Post
African-American neighborhoods fall behind in Atlanta
The Atlanta metro Zip codes where home values have fallen the farthest — and where they remain low — are predominantly African American, widening housing inequality along racial lines. South DeKalb County on the city’s eastern edge is home to many African American professionals who bought stately new suburban homes during the boom. But they have been left out of the recovery.