According to Urban Institute's latest market analysis, Black and Latino homeownership rates surpassed that of white homeowners, with rates increasing in 40 states from 2019 to 2021. Although the Black homeownership rate has experienced a continuous decline since the Great Recession, with many Black households being disproportionately affected by predatory lending practices (PDF), but the Black homeownership rate is now finally showing growth.
In both the American Community Survey (ACS) and Current Population Survey (CPS)/Housing Vacancies and Homeownership Survey (HVS) data, the Black homeownership rate has increased by around 2 percentage points. Meanwhile, the Latino homeownership rate varied slightly across the two datasets—a 2.5 percentage-point increase in the American Community Survey (ACS), and a 0.9 percentage-point increase in the CPS/HVS—but increased in both.
The Black homeownership rate increased in most states
By rate, Montana, Vermont, and Wyoming had the biggest increases in Black homeownership, but they also have some of the smallest Black homeowners and renter populations. Vermont actually lost both Black homeowners and renters, though the Black homeownership rate increased.
Interestingly, several states in the Mountain West and Midwest, such as Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Utah, experienced large increases in Black homeownership rates. In Arizona, the decrease in Black renters from 2019 to 2021 was mirrored by a similarly sized increase in Black homeowners.
In the other states, a decrease in Black renters and a slight increase in Black homeowners had a large effect on the homeownership rate because of the small overall Black population in these states. Larger states, such as Florida, Georgia, and Texas, had the largest increases in the number of Black homeowners, but the Black homeownership rate in these states changed by only 1.8 to 3.4 percentage points.
Latino homeownership rates also increase in most states
Similarly, the states with the largest increases in Latino homeownership rates from 2019 to 2021 have very small Latino populations. However, some states experienced large increases in Latino homeowner populations and homeownership rates. This happened in Connecticut, which gained 26,972 Latino homeowners from 2019 to 2021 as well as 1,947 Latino renters, for an 8.3 percentage-point increase.
Texas, which experienced only a 1 percentage-point increase in its homeownership rate, gained nearly 270,000 Latino homeowners, the most nationwide. Texas, along with Florida and California (also states with large Latino homeowner increases), experienced a small homeownership rate change because of the size of the Latino population and the increase in Latino renters, which is likely a sign of mobility, not of poor homeownership outcomes. Renters have a higher mobility rate than homeowners.
Lack of affordable housing and high interest rates pose challenges moving forward
One reason for the increase in Black and Latino homeownership rates is age; many Black and Latino residents are in their prime homebuying years. In 2021, Black and Latino people’s median ages were 35.3 and 30.5, respectively, compared with 43.9 for whites.
Despite the pandemic’s negative effects on employment, swift government actions, such as forbearance and unemployment benefits, helped Black and Latino households sustain homeownership and helped many enter homeownership and benefit from historically low interest rates. Data show forbearance take-up was higher (PDF) among these households.
But quickly changing market conditions could impede this positive trajectory. Despite signs of a slowdown, home prices remain high and mortgage interest rates have more than doubled from last year, making homeownership less affordable, especially for Black and Latino households who, on average, have lower incomes because of structural barriers. Rising rent is also making it more difficult to save for future down payments.
Research shows that homeownership transfers from parents to children. Those with wealthy homeowner parents—who are disproportionately white—are most likely to receive financial support and help navigating the complicated homebuying process. A well-targeted down payment assistance program, special purpose credit program, outreach, and counseling are among solutions that can reduce the racial homeownership and wealth gaps.
Additionally, the state-level differences suggest policymakers should consider different priorities in different places to reduce the racial homeownership gap. For example, in the Midwest and Mountain West, affordability is not as much of a concern, but decreasing outward mobility and making such places welcoming and attractive to diverse populations will be key. In Texas, Florida, and Georgia, states with large Black or Latino populations, improving housing affordability can go a long way.
The racial and ethnic homeownership gap narrowed for Black and Latino households relative to white households during the pandemic, but targeted and tailored policy supports are needed to ensure these gains don’t backslide.
To read the full report, including more data, charts and methodology, click here.