A Market Recovery, but for Whom?

Parcel Sales in Saint Louis, Missouri from 2003-2018

Team TIF has long held that the overuse of tax incentives in already healthy markets tilts the market against dis-invested in neighborhoods. By virtually guaranteeing high profits in hot markets, it makes it near impossible for those seeking investment in majority black neighborhoods to attract the capital necessary to make needed investments in these neighborhoods. Additionally, there is increased attention has recently grown around the issue of “modern day redlining”, a market-driven phenomenon that locks families out of the opportunity for home ownership, wealth building, depresses housing costs and appears to be playing a role in the rapid increase in the pace of gentrification.
It is estimated that half of the household wealth held by black Americans was destroyed in the 2008 housing crash. Unlike white households, little of that wealth has been recovered in the intervening years. While the Urban Institute’s Interactive View of the Mortgage Boom and Bust clearly shows the lack of a functional mortgage market in north St. Louis, it only tells some of the story. As many note, there is an all-cash economy that exists in north city and much of north St. Louis County. This vicious cycle continues to destroy household wealth and force families to rent, when they could often save money by owning their own home. This mapping of the sale prices in St. Louis is intended to show how unevenly the market recovery in the city has happened; and how this continues to drive the “wealth gap” between the city’s black and white neighborhoods.

Notes and Methodology:
This data visualization was constructed using the Parcel Sales data, available from the Assessor’s website (https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/data/property-sales.cfm). Total sales are aggregated by parcel, meaning that if a parcel was sold more than once in a year, that the total for all sales are included. Additionally, if a parcel contains multiple salable properties (i.e.-a condominium building is one parcel but has multiple salable properties), any activity on any of those properties is aggregated at the parcel level. Included in the tooltip pop-up, which is present when selecting or hovering over a parcel, is the address, the number of sales that year on that parcel, and the total value of all sales activity on that property for the year. For a chosen year, once can filter by ward or neighborhood.