Shifting housing patterns in Washington are creating the potential for unrest among the area's poor, according to a Washington housing analyst.
"There are still a lot of poor being forced into pockets, and by poor I don't mean black," said Bill Regardie, publisher of Housing Data Reports. But he added that redevelopment in Washington is forcing increasingly large numbers of blacks into Prince Georges County, where there is a less sophisticated transportation network to bring them near jobs. "There are potentials for guest unrest," Regardie said.
While the poor are being moved out, the $250,000 price tags on some Washington homes soon will become common, Regardie said.
"Washington will end up like the East Side of New York: very, very rich; very, very poor," the analyst said. But he added that Washington is still "a good place to live."
He also said many developers are moving toward smaller, cheaper town house developments in the area to attract the middle-income home buyer. Condominium and cooperative sales still are going strong, comprising 40 percent of housing sales in the last six years, he said.
Regardie related a number of trends affecting the Washington area to persons here at the 26th annual convention of the Washington Board of Realtors and Mortgage Bankers Association.
For example, while the population of the area hasn't changed much in the last 10 years, the number of households has grown dramatically, he said.
Alexandria residents move more often than persons in any other locality, followed by persons in Fairfax County, Regardie said. The District had the least number of persons move in the last 10 years "partly because low-income and high-income people move the least," he told the group. Virginia suburbs also are experiencing more growth than the District or Maryland suburbs, he added.
Although traditional families (husband, wife and children) continue to move to the suburbs, the city is receiving more nontraditional households, such as those comprised of unmarried and unrelated persons living together, Regardie said. He warned, however, that as a consequence of so many high-income families moving to the District, applications for private schools are quadrupling.
Blacks more often move to the suburbs, particularly Prince Georges County, and many Asians have chosen Arlington County and Silver Spring, Regardie said.