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Pandemic led to sharp spike in Black, Asian and Latino homeownership

the front view of three houses in a row
By Abha Bhattarai and Alyssa Fowers

Nov. 1, 2022


The pandemic housing boom marked a new — though possibly short-lived — entree into homeownership for Black, Asian and Latino families, many of whom had for years been sidelined into the much costlier rental market.

Helped by pandemic-era stimulus programs, Black, Latino and Asian households saw the sharpest increase in homeownership in 2021 since the Great Recession, when all their levels of owning had fallen, according to an analysis of new federal data by The Washington Post. The growth for minority households was more pronounced than for White households.

The recent housing surge also led to seismic changes in the rental market in 2021, as fewer Americans of every race and age rented for the first time since the Great Recession. For African Americans, 2021 marked the first time their share of the rental market dipped since 2000.

Experts say homeownership is just one part of the equation in leveling racial inequality. Not only is it more difficult and costly for minority families to buy homes — mortgage rates for Black homeowners are, on average, 0.3 percentage points higher than for White homeowners, according to the Urban Institute — their homes appreciate at a lower rate, too. A Black-owned house in predominantly-Black neighborhood is valued significantly less than if it were owned by a White family in a predominantly-White neighborhood, according to William Darity, an economics and African American studies professor at Duke University.

“Even if we were closing the home-ownership gap — which we’re not — there’s still a large equity gap between Black- and White-owned homes,” he said. “We’re talking a big difference: $150,000 or $200,000, and that’s been true for half a century.”