Black Homeownership Remains Disparately Low

The U.S. homeownership rate has posted its highest annual rise on record, reaching 65.5% in 2020, 1.3 percentage points over the year before. Hispanic homeownership soared to a record high and is above 50% for the first time on record.

However, Black homeownership continues to lag and has fallen to a lower level than it was a decade ago, according to a report from the National Association of REALTORS®. Black homeowners continue to face significant obstacles to homeownership, like high levels of student debt. They also are among the most likely—along with Hispanic applicants—to be rejected for mortgage loans, the report says.

The homeownership rate for Black Americans is 43.4%, trailing the 2010 rate of 44.2%. By contrast, the homeownership rate for White Americans is 72.1%, 61.7% for Asian Americans, and 51.1% for Hispanic Americans. NAR’s 2022 Snapshot of Race and Home Buying in America report analyzes homeownership trends and identifies housing challenges by race.

Affordability Challenges Persist

“As the gap in homeownership rates for Black and White Americans has widened, it is important to understand the unique challenges that minority home buyers face,” says Jessica Lautz, NAR’s vice president of demographics and behavioral insights. “Housing affordability and low inventory has made it even more challenging for all buyers to enter into homeownership, but even more so for Black Americans.”

Since 2019, the price of the typical home has risen by 30%, or by about $80,000, according to NAR. About half—51%—of all homes currently listed for sale are affordable to households with an income of $100,000 or more. However, only 20% of Black households have incomes greater than $100,000. In comparison, 35% of White households have incomes of more than $100,000, while 25% of Hispanic American households and nearly half of Asian American households reach that level.

Higher rental costs are also pressing on household budgets. Half of Black Americans spend more than 30% of their monthly income on rent. Nearly three out of 10 Black renter households (28%) and one in five White renter households (20%) are considered severely cost-burdened. That is defined as spending more than 50% of a household’s monthly income on rent.

“Black households not only spend a bigger portion of their income on rent, but they are also more likely to hold student debt and have higher balances,” Lautz says. “This makes it difficult for Black households to save for a down payment and as a result, they often use their 401(k) or retirement savings to enter homeownership.”

Speaking Up for Fair Housing

NAR has taken an active role to combat the racial homeownership gap. The association serves on the steering committee of the Black Homeownership Collaborative, which has a seven-point plan charged with increasing Black homeownership by a net 3 million by 2030. NAR also has its ACT plan, which emphasizes “Accountability, Culture Change, and Training” to advance fair housing in the industry. NAR offers an interactive training platform, Fairhaven, which puts real estate professionals in simulated situations where discrimination in a real estate transaction can occur. The association also offers its members an implicit bias video and classroom training to offer strategies that help real estate professionals override biases in their daily interactions.

NAR has also taken an active voice to advocate for more housing inventory and affordable housing, which includes expanding and creating tax incentives and zoning reforms. NAR and the Rosen Consulting Group published a report that examines the causes of America’s housing shortage and provides solutions to address it.

View the report: Housing is Critical Infrastructure: Social and Economic Benefits of Building More Housing

Source: REALTOR® Magazine