Redfin, in a survey of Q1 2020, revealed a divide between the percentage of African-American families versus white families who own their properties outright.
According to Redfin’s report, less than half of America’s African-American families (44%) own the home that they live within, while in stark contrast—and almost double that amount (74%) of white families own their current residences. Although these percentages are both up from the recent quarter’s figures (African-American ownership rose from 41.4%, while white ownership rose from 73.7%), experts are holding off on being too optimistic regarding the belief that these figures will keep rising, as the coronavirus’ effects still are spreading throughout the nation.
The report went even further in detail, also highlighting where in the nation the percentage of black homeownership was the lowest. Redfin’s findings pinpointed the trio of Minneapolis; Milwaukee; and Salt Lake City as having the lowest black homeownership rates in the entire nation. Specifically, among Black residents in Minneapolis, only a quarter of them own their homes. Following closely behind this lowest-rated metro area is Milwaukee, with only 27% of Blacks owning their current residences. Salt Lake City’s 28% black homeownership rate rounds out the trio.
These three metro areas according to the survey, also happen to be among those with the greatest racial homeownership gaps, with 76% of white residents in Minneapolis owning their homes, 70% owning their homes in Milwaukee, and 72% in Salt Lake City.
As for the highest Black ownership rate, that is found in the metro area of Washington D.C., where 51% of Black residents own their homes. The next highest rated metro areas are Birmingham, Alabama (with 50% Black ownership), and Richmond, Virginia (with 49% black ownership).
Redfin Economist Taylor Marr commented on this marked and disappointing schism in the current housing market: "The homeownership gap between Black and white families is a problem that extends far beyond the realm of housing. The value many Black families have missed out on because they were impacted by systemic racism in housing would have been passed down to children and grandchildren, paying for things like higher education, childcare, starting a business, and down payments on their own home. Instead, younger generations in the Black community are at an unfair financial and social disadvantage."
Redfin agent Thomas Mathis then offered his opinion on why Washington D.C., fared so much better than other metro areas: ”There are a lot of federal employment opportunities for Black individuals in D.C., and those jobs provide good salaries that drive homeownership. I also see a lot of parents passing homes on to their children. DC was predominantly Black at one time and a lot of those families have stayed in the area, which means their homes are still in the family. But there's still plenty of room for improvement. One way to increase the Black homeownership rate is with understanding the power of owning a home. Plenty of Black families in the area have money, but often they haven't been educated on how they could build wealth by purchasing a home."
Experts agree that as we move forward as a nation, narrowing this homeownership gap should be a top priority for us all, including those who make the laws in the government who can enact real and systemic change.