US Home Ownership Soars, but Racial Gap Widens

US home ownership jumped at historic rates in 2020, but the racial divide is widening as more black households fall behind, according to a report released Wednesday.

Low interest rates helped fuel a 1.3 percent rise in home ownership in 2020, the biggest annual increase since the U.S. Census Bureau began tracking data in 1960, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

But the gains point to a continuing race-based ownership gap in the United States that the report says is actually widening while house prices are soaring.

Black Americans’ home ownership rate was 43.4 percent in 2020, below 44.2 percent in 2010, although it was up 1.4 percent in 2020 from 2019.

The rate of increase was below that of white and Hispanic households.

“This is the only racial/ethnic group whose home ownership rate is lower than 10 years ago. As a result, the home ownership gap between White and Black households will widen in 2020,” according to the NAR report.

Home prices have surged nearly 30 percent since 2019, meaning the average typical home price is now about $80,000 more than it was before the coronavirus pandemic. The price increase was a reflection of low inventories, NAR said.

Among other racial groups, 72.1 percent of white households own a home in 2020, compared with 61.7 percent for Asian households and 51.1 percent for Hispanic households.

Differences in home ownership rates have been seen as an important component of the racial wealth gap in the US that President Joe Biden’s administration has been constantly highlighting. [lt/jm]