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Racial Disparity in Homeownership

shutterstock_557019136To what extent is homeownership in America racially divided? Apartment List analyzed Census Bureau data from 1980 to 2015 to answer this question, finding that in households headed by adults aged 25 to 64, the difference between white and black homeownership alone is almost 30 percent.

Based on Census Bureau data, Apartment List found that 64.4 percent of white households are homeowners, but only 54 percent of Asian households, 41.1 percent of Hispanic households, and 32.7 percent of black households are homeowners. According to the report, the average homeowner’s net worth is 36 times that of the average renter, meaning that minorities owning less of the market equates to them accumulating less wealth through home equity.

“A lot of the ways we can fix the divide starts with early education, because to buy a home you need moderate to good credit history and finances need to be in order,” Gregory Anderson of ACB Realty in Boston, Massachusetts and Federation of Certified REO Experts (FORCE) Subcommittee Chair for Black Professionals in FORCE said. “Yes, there are some programs to assist regarding low to moderate income, even special credit exceptions, however they are limited.”

Anderson believes that if parents or teachers put a higher emphasis on teaching children at an early age how important it is to keep a good credit history, it will help with homeownership in the future. However, it’s difficult for minorities to play catch up when one side already has the advantage. Currently, the concentration of wealth rests predominantly in the hands of the white demographic.

This is most evident when studying the differences in homeownership based on education levels. Homeownership has declined overall for those with 4-year degrees by 4.1 percent from 69.1 percent in 1980 to 65.1 percent in 2015. However, minority homeownership rates for those with a 4-year degree are still lesser than white individuals with only a high school diploma. Over all education levels, black Americans have the lowest homeownership rates.

FORCE Subcommittee Chair for the Latino Professionals in FORCE, Adriana Montes, who is owner of Florida Dreams Real Estate Group said to begin to close the gap, Americans need to first be aware that it’s a problem. “People don't want to acknowledge, or maybe they’re not even aware, that there's that stereotype. People are judgmental by nature, but don't acknowledge or are not aware that the bias negatively impacts society. It’s something we have to be more aware and conscious of, and little by little eliminate.”

To see the full report, click here.

About Author: Brianna Gilpin

Brianna Gilpin, Online Editor for MReport and DS News, is a graduate of Texas A&M University where she received her B.A. in Telecommunication Media Studies. Gilpin previously worked at Hearst Media, one of the nation's leading diversified media and information services companies. To contact Gilpin, email brianna.gilpin@thefivestar.com.

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