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Atlanta is one of the best cities for black homeownership, study finds

by Evi Arthur

Nearly 50 years after the passing of the Fair Housing Act, minority households still have lower ownership rates and higher rent burdens than white households, a recent study by Trulia found. But progress made in some cities is helping to reverse the trend.

Passed in 1968, the federal Fair Housing Act has helped raise homeownership rates for black and Latino households, but the gains that were made in the early 1990s were largely erased by the recession and housing market collapse, reports Trulia. A look at the homeownership rate by race since 1970 shows the gap between minorities and whites has not changed.

There is some good news in the report, however. Some metro areas have seen strong gains in minority homeownership rates, reduced the prevalence of segregation and lowered the rental burden on minority households. Atlanta, for example, ranked tenth in the country in gains in black homeownership, with a 6.9 percent increase since 1990.

Cities with the biggest jump in Black homeownership:

City % Change
Washington, D.C., 9.6
Peabody, MA 9.3
Fairfield County, CT 9.3
Colorado Springs, Co 9.1
Worcester, MA 8.8
Rockville, MD 8
Hartford, CT 7.9
Boston 7.6
Honolulu 7.2
Atlanta 6.9

Latinos take the lead

Nationally, Latino households have made greater gains in homeownership than black households. Latino homeownership surpassed black homeownership around 2000, and black homeownership saw the steepest decline of any race from 2000 to 2010, Trulia reports.

Gains are being made in minority homeownership in some of the city’s biggest markets, but Latino gains once again are outpacing Black gains. No metro area has seen double-digit growth in black homeownership, but five cities saw double-digit growth in Latino homeownership. In fact, Latinos account for 38 percent of all households formed in 2016, about 7.3 million new Latino households, according to the Hispanic Wealth Project. Homeownership may have decreased among black households in many major metros, but at least cities are showing significant improvement in desegregation.

Why do Latinos seem more likely to be homeowners than other minorities? For one, the Latino demographic is growing in size and increasingly earning higher wages. The population has one of the highest enthusiasm levels for homeownership, and the real estate industry is beginning to catch on. Also, the Latino population has not seen the systemic housing discrimination Black Americans have experienced for decades.

“Some areas have improved housing opportunities for minority households, but there is considerably more work to be done,” Trulia’s report concludes. “Identifying where progress has been made and where Americans continue to face impediments to securing safe and affordable housing is the first step to further housing opportunities for communities and ensuring they remain economically resilient.”

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