UK’s Black families gain zero wealth through property ownership

Lost decade as their median home equity accumulation is nothing

National Weekend Edition /
May.May 22, 2021 12:00 PM
The median accumulation of wealth through homeownership for a Black family over the last 10 years is zero. (iStock)

The median accumulation of wealth through homeownership for a Black family over the last 10 years is zero. (iStock)

Black families in the United Kingdom have struggled to build wealth through property ownership compared to Brits of other ethnic groups, according to a new analysis.

The median accumulation of wealth through homeownership for a Black family — of either Caribbean or African origin — over the last 10 years is zero, according to Office for National Statistics data compiled for Bloomberg News.

By contrast, the median gain from real estate ownership for white and Pakistani families over that period is around 115,000 pounds, or about $163,000. The median household net property wealth for Indian families is 176,000 pounds, or $250,000.

Other ethnic groups’ gains were somewhere in between. Those figures subtract debts and mortgages held against their assets.

There is debate about the reasons for the disparity, but a contributing factor is that most Black families in the U.K. — 30 percent — do not own a home. Around 60 percent of Black people in the U.K. live in London, where high living costs eat up money that could otherwise be saved or put toward a home.

Black Brits are more likely to be paid less than other ethnic groups for the same job and more likely to see their neighborhoods become unaffordable, according to Joseph Rowntree Foundation senior analyst Andrea Barry, Bloomberg reported.

And they have described difficulty getting home loans from banks. Lack of access to affordable mortgages has also contributed to difficulty building wealth among residents of formerly redlined neighborhoods in the United States.

A recent report from the U.K. government’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities disputes that institutional racism is driving wealth disparities.

The 258-page report said “geography, family influence, socio-economic background, culture and religion have more significant impact on life chances than the existence of racism,” which it acknowledged is “a real force in the U.K.”

[Bloomberg News] — Dennis Lynch 


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