“Home Appraised With a Black Owner: $472,000. With a White Owner: $750,000.” (New York Times, August 18):
Last summer, Nathan Connolly and his wife, Shani Mott, welcomed an appraiser into their house in Baltimore, hoping to take advantage of historically low interest rates and refinance their mortgage.
But 20/20 Valuations, a Maryland appraisal company, put the home’s value at $472,000, and in turn, loanDepot, a mortgage lender, denied the couple a refinance loan.
Dr. Connolly said he knew why: He, his wife and three children, aged 15, 12 and 9, are Black. A professor of history at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Connolly is an expert on redlining and the legacy of white supremacy in American cities, and much of his research focuses on the role of race in the housing market.
Months after that first appraisal, the couple applied for another refinance loan, removed family photos and had a white male colleague — another Johns Hopkins professor — stand in for them. The second appraiser valued the house at $750,000.
The industry standard, in other words, if we are to believe the Newspaper of Science, is to apply a 37 percent discount to a Black-occupied house.
An appraised-low house is a curse if you’re the typical spend-like-a-drug-dealer American and want to pull the last dollar of home equity out to spend on bling. But an appraised-low house is a blessing if you’re faced with paying the annual property tax bill.
I’m wondering what this means for sharing out the property tax burden in the U.S. Wouldn’t most members of the laptop class eagerly grab their one Black friend to stand in for them when the local tax assessor comes buy to set the house’s value for property tax purposes? Let’s consider the appraisal discrepancy that affected Dr. Connolly, M.D., above: $278,000. At Baltimore’s 2.25 percent property tax rate, a subtraction of $278,000 in assessed value would save $62,550 over a 10-year period.
Here’s some new construction near the Stuart, Florida airport, maybe evidence that someone managed the PPP and other coronarelief programs correctly. I’m betting that he/she/ze/they would pay good money to a Black family willing to move in for a couple of hours while Martin County’s assessors try to figure out how much to hit them for.