More than a decade after the housing crisis, the effects of the wave of foreclosures are still vivid to most people, particularly those who lost their home. As home values skyrocketed after the recovery, families who lost their home and have yet to buy another have been unable to benefit from a growth in equity and the accompanying increase in their household net worth.
A new analysis of the fallout from foreclosures by Zillow found that black and Hispanic communities were hit harder than white communities. Nationally, 19.4 percent of all foreclosures between 2007 and 2016 were in Hispanic communities, but only 9.6 percent of all homes were in those neighborhoods. Similarly, 12.7 percent of all foreclosures during those years were in black communities, but only 7.7 percent of all homes were in black neighborhoods.
Foreclosed homes in those communities have more than doubled in value since their lowest point, but the former owners have missed that opportunity to build wealth. Historically, black and Hispanic homeowners have held the majority of their net worth in their homes at a higher rate than white homeowners. Just before the housing bubble burst in 2007, Hispanic homeowners had 73.1 percent of their net worth in their homes, black homeowners had 61.8 percent of their net worth in the form of home equity and white homeowners had only 46.5 percent of their net worth in their homes.
In the Washington area, the pattern mirrored the national picture. While homes in Hispanic communities were 6.8 percent of homes in the region, 13.7 percent of foreclosed homes between 2007 and 2015 were in Hispanic communities. Homes in black communities were 21.2 percent of homes, but 22.9 percent of foreclosed homes were in black communities. At the same time, 70.2 percent of homes were located in primarily white communities but only 62.3 percent of foreclosed homes were in those communities. For the full report, visit zillow.com/research/housing-bust-wealth-gap-race-23992/.