The gap in the homeownership rate between black and white households is the highest it has been in 50 years. This brief examines key variables that explain the black/white homeownership gap, and estimates the role that income, education, credit score, and marital status play both nationally and locally in 105 MSAs with large black populations. The researchers determine that roughly 17 percent of the homeownership gap remains unexplained by observed variables and could be caused by differences in parental wealth, information networks or the vestiges of policies and structures that have made it difficult for black households to obtain and benefit from homeownership. The researchers also recommend specific policy actions for officials across federal, state, and local government as well as institutional policy changes.
This report was updated on November 13, 2019. On page vi, we corrected an error to say that the Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville, South Carolina, MSA—not the Dover, Delaware, MSA—had the smallest black-white homeownership gap. And on page 5, in the penultimate sentence of the first paragraph, we changed the units from “percent” to “percentage points.”