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Rochester homeownership disparity among the highest nationwide

Rochester homeownership disparity among the highest nationwide

house-for-saleBlack homeownership has been on a downward path for a number of years, particularly among those aged 45 to 64, but no other racial group has seen as dramatic a drop in homeownership as African Americans since 2001. And in Rochester, where homeownership disparity is among the highest nationwide, black homeownership is just 32.5 percent.

Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that carries out economic and social policy research, recently mapped the black homeownership gap. The organization found that the drop in black homeownership has not been uniform, with some regions experiencing wider gaps than others between black and white homeownership rates.

Of the 100 cities mapped, the widest gaps were in Minneapolis, Minn., Albany and Buffalo, Salisbury, Md., and Bridgeport Conn. The homeownership gap—that is, the difference between the percentage of white residents who own a home and the percentage of African American residents who own a home—is 50 percent in Minneapolis, followed closely by Albany at 48.8 percent and Buffalo at 44.5 percent.

In Rochester, the white homeownership rate is 73.7 percent, while the black homeownership rate is 32.5 percent, leaving a gap of 41.2 percent. The Urban Institute noted that black homeownership rates nationwide “are now at levels similar to those before the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968.”

Since 2005, overall homeownership rates declined from 68.8 percent to 62.7 percent in 2015, according to the American Housing Survey. Among African Americans, homeownership rates fell from 48.5 percent to 42.2 percent in 2015, while among whites, the homeownership rate dropped from 75.8 percent to 70.8 percent in the same time frame.

In a separate discussion, the Urban Institute noted that “the plunging homeownership rate for black families is particularly concerning.” The organization suggested that policymakers recognize “that this declining rate is the result of failings that go beyond the mortgage market.”

The Urban Institute notes that owning a home can increase a family’s financial security, “but black people and other minorities significantly lag behind white people in homeownership rates, a major factor contributing to the racial wealth gap.”

Of concern, the Urban Institute noted, was how the declining homeownership rate among blacks and the high homeownership gap will affect retirement prospects for black Americans and their ability to pass wealth to the next generation.

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