After a Great Recession and decades of low US Black homeownership rates, there are finally signs of healing in a majority of the country’s largest metro areas, according to research from Zillow and the Q4 2019 Housing Vacancy Survey.
At the end of 2019, the Black homeownership rate jumped 3.4 percentage points to 44 percent — “a level largely in line with historic norms, but one not previously broached since 2012,” according to the report. “The recent uptick is an encouraging sign that black home buyers are increasingly succeeding in getting their slice of the American dream after decades of fitful progress.”
The rate hit 46 percent in 2007 on the cusp of the Great Recession.
However, those high rates shortly came to an end, as Black homeowners were some of the hit hardest by the housing crisis. The Great Recession dropped Black homeownership to 41.5 percent by 2018, similar to 1970 rates.
In metro Boston, Black homeownership is back to about the level it was before the Great Recession: It was 36.5 percent in 2007; in 2018, it was 36.2 percent. In 1990, the rate was 20.6 percent.
In the aftermath of the housing crisis, discriminatory policies in the housing market remain. According to a Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report, 59 percent of Black home buyers are more likely to be somewhat concerned about qualifying for a mortgage, compared with 46 percent of white buyers. As well, 76 percent of Black buyers are more likely to be denied financing at least once before being approved for a mortgage, compared with 15 percent of white buyers.
The Black homeownership rate was higher by the end of 2018 than it was during the middle of the decade in 27 of the 50 metros with the largest black populations, according to Zillow. The rate increase was 2.5 percentage points or more in Sacramento (7.8 percent), Phoenix (5.4 percent), Orlando (5.3 percent), San Francisco (4.4 percent), and Portland, Ore. (3.3 percent).