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Blog  ·  February 25 2020

The Home Ownership Racial Disparity in Washington State

The National Association of Realtors recently released a report that highlights the disparities in home ownership for African-Americans over the last three years. The report shows that while the United States homeownership rate has rebounded to 65.1% in the fourth quarter of 2019 from a low of 62.9% in the second quarter of 2016, that improving number does not benefit certain ethnicities as much as others. This leads me to ask, how does this gap continue to exist given the National Association Realtor (NAR) Association renewing their commitment to Fair Housing earlier this year with the ACT (Accountibility, Culture Change, and Training) action plan?

This NAR report is coming fresh off the heels of an article written by Newsday, recapping a three-year investigation on ‘unequal treatment of potential minority homebuyers and minority communities’ in Long Island, New York.

Needless to say these numbers, along with the Newsday article, indicate we still have an issue regarding race and home ownership that needs to be addressed.

Here’s an alarming graphic from the National Association of Realtors’ report:

This graphic breaks down the home ownership rates in each state for African Americans from 2008 to 2018. Despite a recovery from recession and home ownership increasing over time, that has not been the case for the Black population. Blacks have only increased in home ownership in three states: Delaware, South Dakota, and Vermont. In 47 other states, blacks home ownership rate has decreased over the last ten years.

In another graphic, the report illustrates the rate of black home ownership by state (seen below). Let’s take a look at Washington:

Are we simply creating policies for window dressing or actually changing mindset and increasing representation of all ethnicities?

As you can see, in Washington we have a 34% home ownership rate for African Americans. Take a look at how that compares to other ethnicities in the state of Washington:

In the state of Washington, the Black population home ownership amongst all ethnicities is at least 10% lower than other ethnicities in the study. The Hispanic/Latino population comes in at 44%, while Asian population comes in at 62%. The White population is the highest at 66%. That represents a 32% gap between the Black and White population in the state of Washington.

How do we eliminate this gap in the midst of a hot housing market? How can we create more opportunities for home ownership in the Black population? How can we ensure policy meant to even the playing field is carried out by those who understand the gap? Are we simply creating policies for window dressing or actually changing mindset and increasing representation of all ethnicities? What other factors impact these numbers?

Hopefully, we can answer these questions in time. We cannot answer them, however, if we are not aware of the data. While we can’t control the market, we can control our thoughts, words and actions.

To see the entire report, visit the National Association of Realtors website and download the PDF.