A new report shines more light on the crisis in Black homeownership. We all have a role to play in turning things around. Here’s what consumers can do.
Tackling the Black Homeownership Crisis Head-On
If you’re not convinced that there’s a crisis in Black homeownership, a recent report by the Urban Institute may be the final proof you need.
• Since 2001, the Black homeownership rate has experienced the biggest drop of any racial or ethnic group, dropping 5 percent. By comparison, White families saw a 1 percent drop in homeownership during that time period and Hispanic families saw an increase in homeownership.
• Only 13 percent of Black millennials own homes compared with 37 percent of White millennials.
• Perhaps most troubling, Black homeownership rates have fallen to the lowest levels since the 1960s and during that period, discriminating against homebuyers because of race was legal!
While we can debate the reasons for the crisis, I think it’s equally important to work toward a solution. The mortgage industry must come up with innovative ways to increase the Black homeownership rate, but consumers can do their part as well. Here are some ways that we can work together to make a change.
Embrace the idea of financial empowerment. We all want better for ourselves and for our families. Homeownership is a great way to improve our financial standing. When we own a home, each mortgage payment goes toward our personal wealth rather than that of a landlord. When we have financial stability, we have more options and we can create a better future.
Commit to financial education. One of the best ways to empower ourselves financially is to educate ourselves. There are a number of ways that we can do this. For example, you can read a book about personal finance and investing, or you can take classes on homeownership and money management. The more you learn, the more comfortable you’ll be making financial moves, including buying a house.
Focus on making financial improvements. Lenders have the final say about whether you can buy a house. However, you’re less likely to be denied a loan if you prepare early. Preparation means taking steps to raise your credit score and increase your savings. If you really want to achieve success, visit a homeownership advisor who can help you come up with a plan that works for you.
Share the message with your community. Financial empowerment should be a community affair. When we work collectively as a community to better ourselves, we create stronger neighborhoods, which benefits us all. As you work to improve yourself financially, share what you’re doing with co-workers, friends and church members. When you sign up for a homeownership class, bring along a friend. Commit to raising the bar for yourself and the people who are closest to you.
HomeFree-USA is committed to creating millions of new Black homeowners in the next few years, and we’re working on this with our partners. We want to minimize mortgage denials, maximize mortgage closings and magnify homeownership success. Let’s turn the Black homeownership rate around together.