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Can Bank-led Programs Close America’s 29% Racial Homeownership Gap?

By Brooke Sinclair

  • U.S. Bank is aiming to close the gap in homeownership rates as Black homeownership is only at 44%
  • The gap in homeownership rates between white and Black Americans now stands at 29%

U.S. Bank is aiming to close the gap in homeownership rates between white and Black Americans that now stands at 29%. Homeownership is considered the top way to build long-term wealth but discriminatory policies across the sector have left many people of color, especially Black people unable to front the costs for a mortgage. Yet the typical Black homeownership program from your local city might be widening that racial wealth gap, not closing it. 

Why This Matters: White Americans homeownership rate in 2021 was 72.7%, but the rate for Black Americans was 44%, according to NAR’s analysis of the most recent data. The homeownership rate for Asian Americans was 62.8% and for Hispanic Americans it was 50.6%. A Fortune writer called the U.S. housing market so expensive that income would have to jump 55% to make buying a home affordable. 

If we look at Oakland, CA, a city with a 22% Black population, where U.S. Bank’s Access Home Loan promises to provide up to $12,500 in down payment assistance, the gap widening problem is overwhelming. Zillow reported the average house price in Oakland is nearly $800,00, and the median household income is around $85,600, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Additionally, CalMatters reparations calculator estimated each Black Californian resident who is a descendant of enslaved persons is owed up to $1.2 million, to undo centuries of unfair treatment against eligible Black residents.

They say if you don’t know history then you are doomed to repeat it, but what if they don’t want you to know the truth so that they can repeat it? Only a few short years after freedom the formerly enslaved and now “Freedmen” had worked hard to own more than 16 million acres of property. However, after the New Deal Black homeownership quickly fell from 14% to less than 2%. At the same time, the U.S. federal government granted White Americans unrestricted funds through the Homestead Act and their homeownership rates skyrocketed. 

Situational Awareness/What’s Next: In June 2023 during the Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action, Justice Harlan spoke the truth when he explained ‘enslaved Black people had built great wealth, but only for enslavers. Only a few short years after emancipation, by 1910, Freedmen owned more than $325 billion dollars in property and farmland but English colonizers want us to believe former slaves were powerless without masters to serve. 

CBX Vibe:A House Is Not A Home” Luther Vandross

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