TRD Insights: Data shows rate Blacks are denied mortgages in 50 US metros

Black homebuyers in Milwaukee and St. Louis are rejected for mortgages more than three times overall rate

A new study shows the rate at which Black homebuyers are denied mortgages

Hurdles facing Black American homebuyers and homeowners come in many forms, from steering and redlining to systemic undervaluation of properties.

One of the biggest challenges involves the financing of homes. Black mortgage applicants are twice as likely as whites to be denied, for both home purchase and refinance mortgages.

A new study from online loan marketplace LendingTree examines how these disparities differ in different parts of the country. The report looks at the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s Home Mortgage Disclosure Act 2020 data set for the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States.

LendingTree’s data shows that while there is a noticeable gap between denial rates for Black homeowners and the overall population in all metro areas, the disparity is significantly worse in some places than others. In Milwaukee and St. Louis, for example, Black homebuyers are denied purchase mortgages at more than three times the overall denial rate. In Sacramento, the metro area with the smallest gap, Black applicants are still denied 50 percent more often than average.

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Data for home purchase mortgages show a degree of geographical concentration, with metro areas with the largest gaps largely located in the Midwest, while those with smaller disparities are concentrated in the West. New York comes in at No. 10 in the ranking, while Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami have the 21st, 25th and 28th largest denial rate differences, respectively, out of the 50 metros examined.

Denial rates for refinancings are higher across the board compared to home purchase loans, and LendingTree’s data also shows significant racial disparities for refinancing mortgages in almost all metros — except Dallas. Geography appears to be less of a factor here, as the top 10 and bottom 10 by denial rate difference both include metros across the country, from coast to coast and north to south.