Decades after the passage of the U.S. Fair Housing Act, housing models across the country reveal that segregation persists in many communities.
An ABC OTV data team analysis of 2019 census data found that 99 of the country’s top 100 metropolitan areas had “extreme inequities” in homeownership, meaning a gap of more than 25% between white and non-white owners. The data highlighted the uphill battle that many minorities continue to face in becoming homeowners.
In the Raleigh-Cary metropolitan area, which includes Wake, Franklin and Johnston counties, 73.6% of white residents own a home, while only 45.5% of black residents and 47.1% of Latino residents own it.
Similar disparities exist in the Durham-Chapel Hill metropolitan area, which includes Durham, Orange, Person, Granville and Chatham counties. There, white residents are 1.5 times more likely to own a home than non-white residents.
Rochello Sparko, North Carolina policy director at the Centers for Responsible Lending, explained that communities of color face homeownership issues on a daily basis.
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“It’s written into the system that it’s hard for (…) black people who want to take out mortgages to have trouble doing so,” she said.
The Centers for Responsible Lending is a nonprofit research and policy organization that aims to create a fair financial market by focusing on minority and low-income communities.
Sparko explained that property disparities are not due to minority residents not wanting to own homes. Instead, she highlights historic real estate practices and long-standing racial wealth gaps as hurdles communities of color still fight.
“It’s possible that part of this is overt discrimination, but a lot of those impacts sort of come together, whether it’s a greater difficulty in applying for an FHA mortgage due to the student loan debt. This may be because your family lost a lot of wealth in the foreclosure crisis about 10 years ago. You know there are a number of reasons why we are seeing this difference in homeownership rates, and I think what we’re starting to recognize and talk about more of, targeted interventions to address that, ”Sparko said.
Sparko said that, on average, it takes black Americans five years longer to save enough money to buy a house than white Americans. She explained that a major delay in building wealth for people of color is student loan debt.
“We know that student loan debt adds time to saving money for a down payment because so much of your disposable income is going to pay off your student loan debt. And so what we’re seeing is years. additional to the time it takes to save for a home loan if you rely solely on income, and often households of color rely solely on income because their families do not have intergenerational family wealth to support children to buy their first home, ”Sparko said.
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Durham resident Nicole Burgess is one of the people looking to overcome these obstacles and become a homeowner.
“We don’t want to live on paychecks our whole life, so the more property or possessions we have is our ability to move away from that paycheck-to-paycheck life,” explained Burgess.
She said that growing up her parents built their own home and the memories she made there meant everything to her. Last year, at age 35, Burgess and her boyfriend decided they were ready to buy a house and make memories of their own for future children.
After months of saving money, searching and submitting lost bids and offers, they finally won a home. But their moment of triumph quickly turned into defeat when the house failed to assess. Suddenly, Burgess had an additional $ 10,000; money she hadn’t planned.
“I don’t have that money in my savings account. I had enough to cover due diligence and some miscellaneous things like, you know, extra things that we would have to move out, but I didn’t have 10. $ 000, ”she said. mentionned.
The couple lost the house and about $ 3,000, money they saved over the past year for their future. For Burgess, the setback was not just financial.
“I mean it’s costing me my plans in life. I had planned at that age to have a home and start a family and now it’s delayed,” Burgess said.
Despite the setback, Burgess has restarted the savings process and hopes to one day own a home.
Sparko said inequalities in homeownership have lasting impacts that go beyond an individual’s housing.
“Where you live dictates a lot of what happens to you as a person,” Sparko said. “It dictates where you go to school. It dictates whether you live near a business that pollutes in one way or another. It dictates whether you have access to transportation or not.”
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