After rising briefly amid pandemic shutdowns, the US homeownership rate. has stabilized at about 66%a solid increase from the post-Great Recession low of 63% reached in 2016.

However, over the past decade, the homeownership gap between black and white Americans has widened to a 10-year high, according to a Thursday news release from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

From 2011 to 2021, the most recent year cited by the association, the homeownership rate for African Americans rose less than half a percentage point, from 43.6% to 44%. For white Americans, the rate rose about 3 percentage points, from around 70% to 72.7%.

That 29% gap represents the widest racial disparity in homeownership in 10 years, up from 26% in 2011.

«Unfortunately, the incredible affordability challenges of the past year have affected minority homebuyers more than white buyers,» Jessica Lautz, NAR’s deputy chief economist and vice president of research, said in a statement. “African-American buyers are more likely to be first-time homebuyers, who are more sensitive to changes in mortgage interest rates, while white buyers are more likely to have equity in the home they trust when doing a home exchange.”

In fact, affordability measures have reached their worst levels on record, as a result of rising mortgage rates in recent months and rising home prices in recent years. According to NAR, buyers now need to earn more than $100,000 per year if they want to buy a median-priced home within their budget.

Black Americans also continued to have the highest home loan denial rates among all racial groups, according to Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data cited by NAR. Twenty percent of black loan applicants are turned down for mortgages, compared to about 11% of white applicants. And 51% of home improvement loans applied for by black homeowners are denied.

By comparing the income that qualifies to buy a typical home with the median income for renter households, the National Association of Realtors estimates that while 17% of white renters can currently afford to buy a median-priced home: $467,700 in last measure — only 9% of black renters across the country can do the same.

Other racial groups have experienced more substantial gains over the past decade. The homeownership rate for Asian American households increased nearly 5 percentage points, to an all-time high of 62.8% in 2021. And the rate for Hispanic American households rose more than 4 percentage points over the decade, to 50.6 %.

A predominant reason for the underperformance of black households in terms of home ownership is lower income, although this is unlikely to be the only explanation. The average black household buying a home had a median annual income of $80,000, compared to $85,000 for white households.

Meanwhile, 8% of black homebuyers said they had experienced discrimination in a real estate transaction: the highest rate among racial groups.

“Even among successful homebuyers, African-Americans have lower household incomes, which reduces the available inventory pool they can afford and makes their homeownership journey even more difficult in this limited home inventory environment. Lautz said.

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