Microblog #105: New year, same problems.

A New Year’s resolution for the housing industry: increase Black homeownership.

One shameful milestone from 2019 we should all be happy to put behind us? The homeownership rate for African Americans hit a 50 year low in 2019, dropping to 41.6%. (Compare to 73.1% for White households and 46.6% for Hispanic households). Black homeownership is at a lower rate now than in 1968 when the Fair Housing Act passed—outlawing previously legal forms of housing discrimination.

While homeownership continues to improve post-recession for all other demographic groups, the gap for African Americans continues to widen. If the rate of Black homeownership had stayed where it was in 2000, there would an additional three-quarters of a million Black homeowners today.

Virginia is no exception to this national trend. The gap between White and Black homeownership rates is 23% in the Washington region, almost 28% in Hampton Roads, and over 26% in Greater Richmond. Since homeownership remains the principal way most Americans build wealth, this gap contributes directly to wealth disparity. While solutions are not quick or easy, there are strategies that work. . . but it starts with all of us resolving to reverse this trend in 2020. Now that would be a Happy New Year.

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