The homeownership gap between Black and white Americans hasn't been this wide in 100 years
homeownershipgap between Black and white Americans is larger that at any point in the 1900s.
- People of color still lag behind their white counterparts when it comes to homeownership.
A 1968 law was meant to close the gap between Black and White homeowners — more than 50 years later, it's the widest it's ever been.
That's according to a new study by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), a grassroots organization dedicated to fair housing.
Researchers used two years of
"The ongoing racial/ethnic homeownership divide and growing concentration of wealth amongst the wealthy maintains the racial wealth divide today and will continue to expand it into the future," the researchers wrote.
It turns out the pandemic homebuying boom disproportionately helped white, Indian, and Chinese homeowners, although homeownership rates among Asian buyers overall are still much closer to that of Black and Latino people, according to the Urban Institute. Despite the passage of anti-discrimination laws in the 1960s, a smaller percentage of Black Americans own homes today than in the early 1900s. NRCR researchers wrote that the racial homeownership gap has never been larger.
"This appears to be a market failure, where it excludes certain groups perennially," Jason Richardson, the NCRC's senior director of research, told the Center for Public Integrity's Jamie Smith Hopkins. "That drives a persistent
Homeownership for Black people typically has difficulty recovering from crises
Black Americans have historically faced barriers to homeownership because of discriminatory practices by mortgage lenders and real estate agents, for instance, as well as a persisting racial wealth gap that keeps Black people from buying homes in the first place.
As the NCRC noted, before the 1960s passage of anti-discrimination laws, Black homeowners in the 20th century were still doing better than they are today. For example, in 1900, 22% of Black families owned homes, compared to 49% of white ones. In 2020, 74% of white families were homeowners, compared to 45% of Black ones.
The report's findings line up with existing data about the broader racial wealth gap: the gap in net worth between Black and white families has barely changed in three decades, for instance, according to the Brookings Institute.
The NCRC found that for Black Americans especially, homeownership isn't a surefire way to close the wealth gap — even when they buy their homes, they're worth less.
Using mortgage data from the CFPB, the NCRC found that after receiving their loans, Black homebuyers have less home equity than all other racial groups. Their homes have about $27,000 in equity on average, while white borrowers have about $79,000. Black and Latino borrowers doled out higher down payments for their mortgages, due primarily to a reliance on government loans.
Since 2001, the Black homeownership rate experienced a greater drop than any other racial or ethnic group, declining 5% between then and 2019, according to the Urban Institute. That's compared with a 1% decline for white families, while Hispanic families experienced a steady increase.
The NCRC data becomes more varied when the NCRC breaks it down along ethnic lines: young Chinese and Indian homebuyers did especially well in 2020, jumping on the pandemic homebuying surge, which the NCRC researchers suggest might be due to international investment from those countries.
Young Filipino borrowers, however, saw home equity at the time of closing in line with that of Cuban, Mexican, and Hispanic (no sub-group) homebuyers, around $20,000. Black homebuyers still fare the worst, with young Black buyers seeing home equity of about $13,915. In this same vein, Filipinos made up the third highest Asian subgroup of borrowers overall, but saw higher average closing costs than that of Black or Hispanic homebuyers.
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