60% Black Homeownership: A Radical Goal for Black Wealth Development
Article by Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, Jamie Buell, Joshua Devine
Originally posted by the National Community Reinvestment Corporation (NCRC)
A radical increase in Black homeownership is needed to see progress in bridging Black and White homeownership and wealth inequality. One of the defining factors of economic well-being for individuals and families is household net worth or wealth, but not all families are equal. Decades of racial injustice and economic inequality have led to persistent disparities in wealth, specifically for people of color. One of the foundational steps in building wealth is homeownership. Today, the homeownership rate for African Americans is approximately 42% – 45%, essentially unchanged from the rate decades ago and widening over the last a few years. This report highlights historic Black homeownership rates, and underscores the need to significantly increase homeownership rates for Black Americans. We believe reaching a 60% Black homeownership rate will address significant barriers to housing access and wealth creation for the African American community.
- A decline over the past 20 years left the Black homeownership rate at 42% in 2018, as low as it was in 1970. The rate for White homeownership was 73% in that same year.
- A 20% – 30% gap between Black/White homeownership rates has persisted for more than 100 years, despite Black homeownership increases in the mid-1900s.
- African Americans go into greater debt for less valuable homes and receive less of a return on homeownership than Whites.
- If holding the current rates of Black homeownership formation and loss constant, then it would require approximately 165,000 additional new Black homeowners annually over the next 20 years to get to 60% Black homeownership by 2040.
- Bold new approaches to housing finance and investment in community development is required to get to a 60% homeownership rate for African Americans.
- Even getting to a record-level Black homeownership rate of 60% will not bridge the Black and White wealth divide. Additional bold programs like baby bonds, full employment and reparations are needed to close the Black/White wealth divide in the foreseeable future.
- Black populations with moderate incomes in geographic areas with affordable housing and low Black homeownership rates offer strong opportunities to increase African American homeownership.
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