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Blog: Builders map minority homeownership

Persistent low homeownership rates among minorities, particularly black households, has drawn quite a bit of attention this past year. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is the latest to investigate the problem.

NAHB recently mapped the homeownership rates of black, Hispanic and white households across all regions of the country. The trade group also did a statistical analysis to determine the real size of the gap among minority and white homeownership rates after controlling for income, home prices, median age and the share of married households.


The main finding was that a wide gap does exist even after controlling for variables that can influence the rates. Compared to white households, the black homeownership rate was 22 percent lower on a national basis and the Hispanic rate was about 11 percent lower, the NAHB study found.

“This analysis shows that, even when controlling for the selected demographic and socioeconomic variables affecting homeownership rates at the county level, black and Hispanic or Latino households still have lower rates of homeownership. The findings suggest that reasons beyond demographic and socioeconomic factors are preventing these groups from attaining homeownership at rates similar to that of white households,” the study said.

NAHB’s study relied on figures from the 2012-2016 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. The black homeownership rate was estimated at 41.9 percent, about 27 percentage points lower than the white homeownership rate. The Hispanic rate was pegged at 45.8 percent, about 23 percentage points lower than the white homeowership rate.

NAHB’s study was confined to investigating the trends in homeownership and doesn’t attempt to answer why minority rates are lower.

In its geographic analysis, NAHB found that black homeownership rates are highest in the South, and lower in the West, Midwest and the Northeast regions. The largest gap was in the Northeast region.

Black homeownership rates were higher than white homeownership rates in only a few counties, mostly in the South region and typically only in areas where there was a small black population. One notable exception was Queens County, New York, where the black homeownership rate was slightly higher, at 47.9 percent, compared to 43.9 percent for white households. Queens also has a sizeable black population, at approximately 136,000 households.

As for Hispanics, homeownership rates were the highest in the Southwest region, particularly Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, where a large percentage of the Hispanic population lives. The study noted that California’s sizeable Hispanic population generally have much lower homeownership rates than whites. 


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