Home values in Ferguson, Mo., have plummeted nearly 50 percent since Michael Brown’s death, new housing data shows.
Protests erupted in November following a grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown.
Members of the community are feeling the financial toll from the civil disturbances last year that caused property values to fall rapidly. John Zisser, owner of a business called Zisser's Tires says last year his business' property was valued at nearly a million. "If I sold this place today, I could probably get $300,000 for it, if anyone is crazy enough to buy."
Since Brown's death in August and the protests that followed, home prices have been steadily declining, according to housing data from MARIS, an information service for real estate professionals. Before Brown's death, the average home sold in 2014 for $66,764 in Ferguson. For the final three and a half months of 2014, the average home sold for $36,168 – a 46 percent decline. So far in 2015, prices are continuing to tumble, with homes now selling on average for $22,951.
"This is not normal for the region," Crista Patton, a local REMAX real estate professional, told Fusion. "Last time I pulled up numbers like this for a neighborhood around here, we were seeing the market going up. In St. Louis in general, the market is going up, and as a whole it’s almost completely recovered from the recession."
Real estate professionals say that if the situation doesn't improve soon, the city will likely lose out on not only attracting new residents but also risk losing a flood of longtime residents.
"We’re going to start seeing more foreclosures and more short sales, I’m certain of it," says Terry Gannon, a RE/MAX real estate professional in the area. "Yesterday a property owner called. He has three properties for sale, and he can't get out. At this point, he’s ready to take a loss."