Racial inequality in homeownership across US is sharpest in New York: report

New report on race and homeownership nationwide finds white people own a disproportionately high percentage of homes

TRD NATIONAL /
Sep.September 27, 2019 02:50 PM
New York City Councilman Donovan Richards sponsored a bill that now requires the city’s affordable housing plan to actively address racial segregation. (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

New York City Councilman Donovan Richards sponsored legislation that now requires the city’s affordable housing plan to actively address racial segregation. (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

White homeowners control a disproportionately high percentage of property across the country, and the discrepancy between population and ownership is widest in New York.

In the New York metro area, white homeowners make up about 47 percent of the population but own close to 70 percent of homes, according to a new report by Lending Tree. That 22 percent gap was the most nationwide.

Other metro areas across the country also had significant gaps between the percentage of the white population in a city and the percentage of home ownership in that city.

In Los Angeles, the gap was 17.8 percent, in Miami it was 17.6 percent and in Chicago it was 16.9 percent.

Nationwide, the report found the gap was about 14 percent.

People who identify as white make up an average of 59 percent of the population in 50 U.S. cities, but own 73 percent of owner-occupied homes in those areas.

The findings were the result of a survey of over 11 million households using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey.

Meanwhile, homebuilders and real estate brokers have been increasingly relying on first-time Hispanic buyers, since housing demand has slowed down considerably due to the rising costs of single-family homes.

Last year, a different report found New York to have the fourth-highest level of residential segregation in the country. Also last year, a group of Council members passed a bill that requires the city’s affordable housing plan to actively address racial segregation.

“I’m really frustrated but also worried about home ownership,” City Councilman Donovan Richards, who sponsored the measure, said on Friday. “The city is not focusing enough in this area,” he said, noting that the majority of political effort is focused on affordable rentals. Richards spoke just before attending an affordable housing conference, “Black and Latinx Homeownership: Steps to Closing the Homeownership Gap.”

But expanding affordable housing doesn’t necessarily translate into a more diverse city. An analysis this spring showed that affordable housing lotteries perpetuated racial segregation by favoring households who live in the same neighborhood as the building.

Black homeowners’ are seeing their property values shrink. Last year, a study from Brookings Institution and Gallup reported the consistent undervaluation of homes in majority black neighborhoods. That finding equates to a $156 billion loss for African-American homeowners.

“There’s no easy fix,” Richards said. “Systematically, there’s so many things that we have to address.”

Write to Erin Hudson at [email protected]


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