Realtors in the St. Louis area say they are fighting a negative perception of the region in the aftermath of last summer’s violence in Ferguson.
Many in the market, especially in North St. Louis County, are concerned about low re-sale value, said St. Louis Association of Realtors President Janet Judd.
“The perception is that values tumbled, plummeted.”
About 200 realtors gathered at the association’s headquarters Friday to examine how the unrest and its aftermath have affected the area’s housing market.
“That’s what this was about, is teaching them that this is a viable place. The community is still intact.”
Many in attendance expressed concerns about the perception that the Ferguson area is not a good place to live.
One realtor pointed out that there are beautiful homes in North County that have lost half their value because of the negative impression.
Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council Executive Director Will Jordan said he has heard the same thing and has been trying to stand up for the area.
“Ferguson is a great place to live," he said. "People need to stick with this community.”
The president of the nonprofit group Beyond Housing stressed that it could be time to break down the separations that have marked the region for decades.
Residents “need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable,” said Chris Krehmeyer, who was one of the panelists for a forum examining the housing issues.
He wants people to make time to “experience and understand” parts of the region that might be unfamiliar to them.
The Association has established a task force to deal with several issues.
It hopes that stabilizing the housing market will lead to a more sustainable community and tackle the negative perception head on.
Krehmeyer believes realtors are the ideal professionals to help fix the region.
“It’s not somebody else’s job.”
That position was echoed by at least one realtor who called for a unified approach to dealing with violence, poverty and racism.
“We might have come over on a different ship. But we’re in the same boat now.”