Some Prince George’s County homeowners claim their homes are being devalued because they live in majority-Black neighborhoods.
PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, Md. — Two Black families in Prince George’s County found themselves joined by a shared experience involving their large, luxury homes. Their houses failed to meet the anticipated appraisal value after they were reviewed by certified professionals. Some suggest the shortfall is the result of the market. These families, however, call it blatant discrimination.
“In neighboring counties, we’re seeing the exact same builder with the same style home, and [their] homes are worth twice as much,” said Jacqulyn Priestly whose Bowie, Maryland home appraised lower than what it costs to construct.
Roshaunda Ingram-Harvey and her husband Derrick had their own experience.
“Every realtor said, we don’t know that your house will sell for that price, because it’s not going to appraise for that in Prince George’s County,” said Ingram-Harvey. “Houses in Prince George’s County don’t appraise for over a million dollars, and they definitely don’t sell.”
The two families said this isn’t a coincidence. It’s a trend—where homes in predominately Black neighborhoods are valued differently.
Priestly and her husband didn’t think they too would fall victim to the trend.
“We wanted more space, multi-generational living with mom and my stepdad living with us too,” said Priestly explaining what motivated her family to build their dream home in Prince George’s County. “We looked in other counties in Maryland and then decided to stay in Prince George’s County because we recognize the fact you can’t put a price tag on community.”
But community came at a cost.
After building their nearly nine-thousand square foot home from the ground up, they needed financing and so an appraisal was ordered. When appraisers survey a home, they examine characteristics like square footage, overall condition of the property and location.
Priestly’s first appraisal returned, and the house was valued at 1.2 million dollars. But the appraisal report contained errors. So, another appraisal was ordered. The second appraisal came back at 1.3 million, but it was still lower than their total construction costs by nearly $500,000 dollars.
“How is it that the wood and the walls and the nails that were used… how are they worth less than what they cost us?” wondered Priestly. “[But] for as much as we’re not gaining financially in choosing Prince George’s County, we are gaining exponentially in terms of that true community.”
Roshaunda Ingram-Harvey and her husband Derrick see it differently.
“Don’t buy in Prince George’s County,” said Ingram-Harvey pointedly. “I mean, at the end of the day, this is historical. This is not something that just started. This is something that’s been going on.”
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