They Lost Their Homes. Now A Reality TV Star Is Selling Them

Behind the scenes of Million Dollar Listing New York are black and Latino families who lost their homes in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis.

Investigative (New York)

Lisa Riordan Seville, Lukas Vrbka
December 20, 2017

Tags: Housing: Foreclosure

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Services NYC (LSNYC), New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG)


What Million Dollar Listing’s viewers did not learn, and what Serhant told BuzzFeed News he did not know, is that before the fresh paint and white Carrara marble, these houses were teetering on the edge of foreclosure.

Their transformation into reality TV dream homes played into a growing crisis in affordable housing, with vulnerable New Yorkers losing their grip on homeownership just as the value of their homes is skyrocketing.

“It’s a land grab,” said Catherine Isobe, an attorney at Brooklyn Legal Services. “It’s a big wealth transfer from people of color who scraped and saved to get these houses when no one wanted to live in these houses, to the white people who now want to move in.”