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Redfin Report: Racial Gaps in Homeownership, Home Equity and Wealth Widened during the Historic Decade-Long Economic Expansion

August 04 2019

U.S. home prices have risen 73% since 2010, but the resulting home equity gains haven't benefited black Americans, whose homeownership rate fell to a record low in the second quarter

SEATTLE, July 31, 2019 -- Homeowners in primarily white neighborhoods gained an average of $70,000 more in home equity than homeowners in primarily black neighborhoods from 2012 to 2018, according to a new report from Redfin, the technology-powered real estate brokerage. In part as a result of the inequality in homeownership and home-equity gains, black Americans have seen their median net worth decline in the past decade while for white Americans it rose by double digits.

While U.S. home prices have risen 73 percent since the first quarter of 2010, homeownership rates among all Americans dropped 3 percentage points to 64.1%. Still, 73.1 percent of white Americans owned homes as of the second quarter of 2019, compared with a record-low of 40.6 percent for black Americans and 46.6 percent for Hispanic & Latino Americans. The resulting 32.5 percentage-point gap in homeownership between black and white Americans is 3.6 points wider than it was at the beginning of 2010. Meanwhile the homeownership gap between white and Hispanic & Latino Americans widened by half a point.

"With higher unemployment rates and less wealth to begin with, black Americans were less able to buy homes even when prices were at their lowest point, meaning many missed out on opportunities to build wealth and put down roots in their communities through homeownership," said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather. "The growing racial homeownership gap has widened the wealth gap, as home equity remains one of the most significant wealth-building tools. And now, with higher home prices and tighter lending standards than before the housing crash of 2008, it's more difficult than ever for minorities to break into the housing market. That's likely to contribute to growing economic inequality in the U.S."

Redfin compiled data on homeownership rates, home equity, net worth and unemployment by race.

The already-large homeownership gap between black and white Americans has widened since 2010

  • The homeownership rate for black Americans dropped 5 percentage points to 40.6% in the second quarter of 2019 from 45.6% in the first quarter of 2010. The rate for white Americans dropped just 1.4 percentage points, from 74.5% to 73.1%, over the same time period. The homeownership rate for Hispanic & Latino people fell 1.9 points (from 48.5% to 46.6%). The nationwide rate dropped 3 points to 64.1%.
  • The homeownership gap between black and white Americans has widened over the last decade to a 32.5 percentage-point gap in the second quarter of 2019, from a 28.9 percentage-point gap in the first quarter of 2010.
  • The homeownership rate remained over 70% for white Americans from 2010 through the first quarter of 2019, but it never surpassed the 50% threshold for black Americans.

Homeowners in majority-black neighborhoods experienced significantly smaller home-equity gains in dollars than those in majority-white neighborhoods from 2012 to 2018

  • Homeowners in primarily black neighborhoods saw smaller dollar gains in home equity ($120,800) from 2012 to 2018 (the most recent full year for which data is available) than those in Hispanic/Latino and white neighborhoods. Homeowners in primarily white neighborhoods saw a gain of $190,935 during the same time period, and they started and ended with the most equity in dollars. Homeowners in primarily Hispanic & Latino communities gained $206,000 in equity.
  • Home prices in majority-black neighborhoods rose 24.9% from 2012 to 2018, higher than the 21% gain for Hispanic & Latino communities and the 12.5% gain for white communities.
  • Homeowners in majority-black neighborhoods saw the biggest percentage gain in equity (213%), but started with substantially lower equity in the homes than white and Hispanic & Latino neighborhoods.
  • The home-equity gap between black and white Americans widened slightly from 2012 to 2018, from $67,229 to $70,135.

Home-equity gains for black Americans haven't translated into an increase in net worth

  • The median net worth for black Americans dropped 2.8% to $17,100 in 2016 (the most recent full year for which data is available) from $17,600 in 2010. That leaves the typical black American more than $10,000 short of the 20% down payment ($27,980) likely needed to purchase a median-priced home in Detroit, one of the most affordable major housing markets in the U.S.
  • Median net worth rose 18.5% to $171,000 during the same period for white Americans.
  • The net-worth gap between black and white Americans increased 22.8% to $153,900 in 2016 from $125,300 in 2010.
  • Hispanic & Latino Americans saw their median net worth increase by 15.1% over the six year period to $20,600, also well below the typical down payment for a home in Detroit.
  • In 2010, the ratio of white to black net worth was 8:1. By 2016, the ratio had widened to 10:1.

The unemployment rate for black Americans is nearly double the rate for white Americans

  • The unemployment rate for black Americans dropped 10.5 percentage points to 6% in June 2019 from 16.5% in January 2010, while the rate for white Americans fell 5.5 percentage points to 3.3% over the same time period.
  • The unemployment gap between black and white Americans has narrowed substantially since the beginning of 2010, from a 7.7 percentage-point gap to a 2.7-point gap.

To read the full report, including charts and methodology, please visit: https://www.redfin.com/blog/black-americans-homeownership-rate.

About Redfin

RedfinRedfin is a technology-powered real estate brokerage, combining its own full-service agents with modern technology to redefine real estate in the consumer's favor. Founded by software engineers, Redfin has the country's #1 brokerage website and offers a host of online tools to consumers, including the Redfin Estimate, the automated home-value estimate with the industry's lowest published error rate for listed homes. Homebuyers and sellers enjoy a full-service, technology-powered experience from Redfin real estate agents, while saving thousands in commissions. Redfin serves more than 85 major metro areas across the U.S. and Canada. The company has closed more than $85 billion in home sales.