Black History Month Spotlight: The Path to Inclusive Homeownership

During Black History Month, we honor and celebrate the many generations of Black Americans who have helped shape our nation, and we reflect on the triumphs and challenges they have faced throughout U.S. history. At the same time, this month reminds us of the work that still needs to be done in securing a more equitable future for all. A major aspect of that future is unlocking more access to homeownership.

Today, the gap in the Black-White homeownership rate is the largest it has been in decades as only 44% of Black Americans own a home compared to the 72.7% of White Americans.

Owning a home is one of the best ways to build equity and strengthen generational wealth. Yet challenges such as fluctuating mortgage rates, historically low supply, a lack of affordability and limited financial education are creating barriers to these wealth-building benefits.

The Current Landscape

In cities and towns throughout our country, home prices are skyrocketing. Take Dallas, Texas, for example. This major metro area has the second highest migration of Black residents and, in 2015, was a top destination for Black Californians looking to relocate. A decade ago, the median price of a home in Dallas was $280,000. Fast forward to today and the median price of a home in this growing city is now $439,000.

Yet the cost of housing is only one part of the issue. The overall cost of living just about anywhere in America today is increasing faster than many wages can keep up with.

Picture this: A decade ago, the average price of a car was around $34,000 and the average American family spent about $4,000 per year on groceries. Today, the average price of a car is around $48,000 and the average American family spends about $5,700 per year on groceries.

Unless our leaders act, these numbers will continue their upward climb and the gap in the Black-White homeownership rate will only widen.

Pro-Housing Organizations and Advocates

Fortunately, many organizations and individuals are dedicated to breaking down barriers to homeownership and empowering Black Americans to build wealth through this investment:

  • The 3by30 initiative advocates for expanded pre- and post-purchase counseling for borrowers, as well as targeted down payment assistance programs and investments in affordable housing.
  • Ready Life is a Black-owned fintech company with the goal of equipping communities with the tools to build and preserve generational wealth, helping set more families and individuals up for homebuying success.
  • LaRese Purnell is the co-owner and managing partner of CLE Consulting Firm and author of “Financial Foundations.” Purnell helps expand financial education opportunities and address the most fundamental questions Americans have regarding their finances.
  • Secretary Marcia L. Fudge of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has worked throughout her career to assist underserved communities, advocating for pro-housing policies and programs that will help make the dream of homeownership and its benefits a reality for more Americans.

Learn more about some of the organizations and advocates who are creating a more equitable path to building wealth through homeownership.

Pro-Housing Policies

The federal government plays a critical role in closing the Black-White homeownership gap by incentivizing the development of affordable homes and providing direct assistance to buyers. After years of underinvestment in housing, it’s imperative for our leaders in Washington to commit to commonsense solutions that will improve equitable access to affordable homes. These pro-housing policies exist, now’s the time to see them through:

  • The Neighborhood Homes Investment Act is bipartisan legislation that would create a new federal tax credit to incentivize the development and renovation of family housing in the neighborhoods most in need of investment, adding about 500,000 family homes to the market in the next 10 years.
  • A key component to improving access to homeownership is expanding support for first-time buyers. This includes increasing pre- and post-purchase consultation for homebuyers, implementing alternative credit modeling to support equitable access to mortgage loans, and employing a combination of downpayment assistance and incentives for owners to sell to first-time buyers.
    • The More Homes on the Market Act is bipartisan legislation that would incentivize current homeowners to sell to help put more homes on the market, benefiting sellers as they would not have to pay as much in capital gains taxes on their home sale, allowing them to better leverage the equity they’ve built throughout their lifetime.

Your Voice Matters

Black History Month is a reminder of the critical need to break down barriers and address the racial disparities riddling today’s housing market. But this isn’t a mission we only work towards during February—it’s a year-round effort, and it takes all of us to see it through.

By strengthening our collective voice in support of the solutions on the table, we can put the dream of homeownership within reach for all who want to achieve it. Get involved in our efforts and help influence policy decisions impacting home buyers and the future of homeownership.

About the American Property Owners Alliance
The American Property Owners Alliance (The Alliance) is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization created to protect and support property owners and pave the way for future property owners. Our mission is to educate property owners about federal issues, laws and policies; to advocate for owners’ rights and interests; and to mobilize, when necessary, to secure those rights and interests.
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