The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Black homeownership continues to lag in 50 largest U.S. cities

Black people own a disproportionately small share of homes compared with their population, according to a new study. (John Minchillo/AP)

The persistent gap between the percentage of homeowners who are White and those who are Black continues even though homeownership rates in general climbed to 65.5 percent in 2020, a 1.3-point rise from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors.

While Black homeownership rates increased to 43.3 percent, they still lag behind those of White Americans (72.1 percent), Asian Americans (61.7 percent) and Hispanic Americans (51.1 percent).

A recent study by LendingTree dug deep into Census Bureau records to see how the share of homes owned by Black people in the nation’s 50 largest metro areas compared with the Black population in those cities. The study found that in every city, Black residents own a disproportionately small share of homes compared with their population.

Nationally, Black Americans are 15 percent of the combined population of the 50 largest metro areas, but they own 10 percent of the owner-occupied homes in those cities. White Americans account for 64 percent of the population in those cities but own 76 percent of the owner-occupied houses.

Did your house earn more than you did in 2021?

Among the cities with the smallest disparity between Black homeownership rates and Black population rates, the top three are:

  • San Jose: 2.41 percent of its population identifies as Black, and 1.38 percent of its homes are Black-owned — a disparity of 1.03 points.
  • Los Angeles: 6.54 percent of its population identifies as Black, and 5.24 percent of its homes are Black-owned, a disparity of 1.31 points.
  • Salt Lake City: 1.88 percent of its population identifies as Black, and 0.56 percent of its homes are Black-owned, a disparity of 1.32 points.

Generally, cities with a smaller Black population had the smallest disparity in homeownership rates.

The cities with the widest disparity between Black homeownership rates and Black population rates include:

  • Memphis: 47.37 percent of the city identifies as Black, while 35.05 percent of its homes are Black-owned, a disparity of 12.32 points.
  • Milwaukee: 16.47 percent of this Wisconsin city identifies as Black and 6.51 percent of homes there are Black-owned — a disparity of 9.96 points.
  • New Orleans: 34.98 percent of this city identifies as Black, while 25.63 percent of its homes are Black-owned, a 9.35-point disparity.

Report: Home buyer demand shows signs of slowing

In Washington, D.C., LendingTree researchers found that 25.16 percent of the population is Black, while 20.5 percent of homes are owned by Black people. That is a disparity of 4.67 points.

The LendingTree study cites several reasons for the race gap in homeownership, including the difference in median household income. The national median household income for those who identify as Black is $45,870, according to the Census Bureau, nearly $30,000 less than the $74,912 median income for White households. In addition, Black home seekers are more likely to be denied a mortgage than members of other races, generally have less accumulated household wealth, and frequently have more difficulty accessing traditional credit and banking services, according to LendingTree. Racial discrimination also contributes to the race gap.

“The lasting legacies of historical discrimination policies like redlining are partly to blame for the relatively low homeownership rates among those who identify as Black,” Jacob Channel, author of the report and LendingTree’s senior economic analyst, wrote in a statement. “Our study further highlights the reality that while it is no longer legal to discriminate against a homebuyer based on their race, it can still be disproportionately more difficult for many Black Americans to achieve homeownership.”

The full study is available here.

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