Report: Gender and racial inequality continues to impact housing affordability

by Zachary Wright

While housing is still affordable on a national level, growth in household income is decelerating while gender and racial gaps persists. A new study by Free and Clear looked at data provided by the Census Bureau’s 2017 household income report to determine the income gap and housing affordability. By using Census data, Free and Clear’s analysis shows the impact of income gaps between households.

Housing Becomes Less Affordable

The median household income grew 1.8 percent in 2017, compared to 3.1 percent and 5.1 percent in the last two years. However, housing prices increased at a higher rate of 6 percent, triple the growth rate for household income. Additionally, the median new home sales price increased 4.9 percent, two and a half more times than income growth.

Gender Inequality and Housing

According to the data studied by Free and Clear, the housing gender gap widened in 2017. The median male household income grew 2.6 percent in 2017 while median female household income declined 0.5 percent. The reported median male household income was 46 percent higher than the median female household income. The reported male household income came in at $60,843 compared to the $41,703 from the reported median female household income.

This has led to female households being able to afford almost a third less than a male household, when it comes to a home purchase. The median female household can afford to buy a $282,358 home compared to $412,127 home for the median male household and a $415,673 home for all households.

Race and Housing Affordability

Free and Clear also analyzed racial inequality in household income across four ethnic groups – Asian, Black, Hispanic and White. The study found that the highest earning group makes more than twice the lowest earning group.

The reported Asian median household income was the highest at $81,331 compared to $68,145 for white households, $50,486 for Hispanic households and $40,258 for black households. The median Asian household can afford to buy a $550,858 home. The median white household can afford to buy a $461,541 home, the median Hispanic household can afford a $342,023 home and the median black household can afford a $272,750 home, per survey data.

In spite of the income differences, the Hispanic median income grew 3.7 percent. White median household income also grew at 2.6 percent. However, the median Asian and black household incomes declined at 2.2 and 0.2 percent, respectively.