DC’s black homeownership gap continues to grow

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DC‘s black population continues to decline, and over the past decade the number of black homeowners has trended downward.

Why it matters: Our once-chocolate city is now caramel at best, and opportunities to create equity and generational wealth through home ownership are harder to find for black residents.

Using the numbers: According to the Mayor’s Office, 34% of homeowners in DC are black compared to 49% of whites.

  • Census data shows that the number of homeowners in Black DC has increased from around 46,000 in 2010 to 42,400 in 2019. That’s a decrease of 8%.

The Homeownership Gap can have generational consequences. Urban Institute found that a child is 8.4% more likely to own a home if their parents are homeowners.

Zoom out: Some DC suburbs, particularly Prince George’s County, have a high concentration of wealthy black homeowners. Brookings Metro colleague Tracy Hadden Loh says “the exclusion of other suburbs” is one of the reasons black homeowners have historically found their way to PG County.

Between the lines: There are several factors promoting black homeownership in our area. For example, there are more black-owned businesses in the Washington metro area than in other parts of the country.

  • “This is like a virtuous circle in terms of black wealth creation and self-reinforcing,” says Loh of homeownership support for entrepreneurship and vice versa.

go deeper: Where black home ownership thrives.

Something to see: According to Realtor.com, millennials are the top drivers of black home ownership nationwide. Although cost is still a major barrier for younger buyers, millennials of all races make up 43% of homeowners, more than any other generation in the US

Yes but: Black millennials face different challenges than their parents.

  • “There are millions of black and brown millennials who are creditworthy, who are prequalified and would buy homes unless there was no inventory in the most desirable locations,” says Loh. “And so they are excluded by another process.”

What’s next: Mayor Bowser’s new Strike Force initiative will help determine how the city’s $10 million black homeowner fund should be used. It will be led by housing experts and community leaders who will make recommendations to the mayor on how to increase the number of black homeowners in DC by 2030.

Context: Although the mayor has spent hundreds of millions on affordable housing, he has been accused of not using those dollars effectively.

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