Black households are less likely to own their home compared to white households, which contributes to the broader Black-white housing wealth gap. But closing the homeownership rate disparity may not fully address the racial wealth difference. Even when they achieve homeownership, Black households are more likely to live in properties considered to be in inadequate condition.
This report illustrates how these structural deficiencies further amplify Black-white home value gaps. At the same time, inadequate homes also tend to be less energy efficient, resulting in greater utility cost-burdens, particularly for Black homeowners who typically, on average, have lower incomes compared with white homeowners. Black homeowners living in inadequate housing are more likely to receive utility shut-off notices. They are also more likely to forego basic necessities because of their home energy bill or keep the home at an unhealthy temperature, illustrating a link between housing and disproportionately worse health outcomes for Black families. Public policies that reduce the cost of renovations and improve the ability of Black families to access their home equity could help these families live in adequate housing and equally benefit from homeownership.