Homeownership: Homeownership can be a critical pathway to economic security and mobility. 

Insights & Analyses

  • While White households have remained more likely to own their home than people of color since 2000, White homeownership has decreased slightly from 74 percent in 2010 to 71 percent in 2017. Homeownership has also decreased overall from 67 percent of households in 2010 to 63 percent in 2017. 

  • States with large White populations like Maine and Minnesota have the highest rates of homeownership while states and districts with large populations of color, like the District of Columbia and California, have the lowest rates. 

  • Immigrants for all racial and ethnic groups are less likely to own their home than their US-born counterparts, except for Asian or Pacific Islander immigrants. 

  • People of Somalian ancestry are least likely to own their home out of all racial and ethnic populations for every nativity and ancestry breakdown. Just 9 percent of this population owns the home they live in.

Drivers of Inequity

Persistent disparities in homeownership across race can be explained in part by differences in income levels among White households and households of color. However, the racial wealth gap is also a driving force. The long history of racial oppression and segregation in the United States in which people of color have been dispossessed and excluded from economic prosperity has contributed to a large racial wealth gap: the median net worth of White households was $130,800 but only $17,530 for Latinx households and $9,590 for Black households in 2014. This racial wealth gap, along with racist housing policies such as redlining, has prevented generations of communities of color from purchasing homes. As homeownership remains one of the most widely available and effective ways to increase wealth over generations, the lack of parental homeownership among communities of color today further diminishes the wealth of the current generation and their ability to purchase a home.

Strategies

Grow an equitable economy: Policies to increase sustainable homeownership

Strategy in Action

Portland’s Proud Ground land trust helps low-income families access homeownership. In 1999, community members and the city of Portland founded Proud Ground (formerly Portland Community Land Trust) to provide access to homeownership for low-income residents as housing prices skyrocketed in the Portland metro region. Since its founding, the land trust has served over 396 first-time homebuyers. The average Proud Ground homeowner is in a family of three, earning 61 percent of the annual median income; 60 percent are female-headed households; 59 percent are families with children; and 42 percent are households of color. To Proud Ground, a family is any configuration of people who make a house feel like a home. In the community land trust model, Proud Ground homeowners receive a fair return on their initial investment and agree to maintain that affordability for the next homebuyer. While still building wealth, the homeowners help future generations of homebuyers have access to affordable homes, like they did. Nationally, land trusts work: foreclosure rates are close to zero percent and seven in 10 homeowners go on to buy market-rate homes. Read more

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