Foreclosure Crisis Hits P. Diddy’s Hometown

gramatan avenue in mount vernon new york Foreclosure Crisis Hits P. Diddys HometownThe country’s home prices are in a downward spiral that shows no sign of stopping in the next year. But New Yorkers are by now in the habit of ignoring such stats, assured that our red-hot property market is still at least dark pink.

Yet just over the border in Westchester County, a short five-minute walk from the last stop on the 2-Train, lies Mount Vernon. The working class city of 69,000 looks more like Phoenix or Las Vegas than New York City. Malcom X, Denzel Washington and P. Diddy have all called Mount Vernon home, but now it’s imperiled by a steep drop in home prices, AOL Finance reports.

The eighth-most populous city in New York State, Mount Vernon has experienced a 37 percent fall in home values since the recession. Prices have plummeted from a median $510,000 in 2007 to $310,000 today. That’s lower than Nevada, but still significantly higher than an overall national drop of 28 percent.

The most likely explanation is that the town has been afflicted by the predatory lending practices that have targeted African Americansconsidering Mt. Vernon is 60 percent black. New Yorkers have taken pride in how well the city’s buoyant real estate market has weathered the storm. This tends to ignore the fact that Brooklyn and the other outer boroughs have fared much less well, even if their outlook is finally improving.

As Diddy once declared, “Can’t nobody hold me down.” Tell that to the bankers.

lkusisto@observer.com