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Lessons From Cities With Majority Black Homeownership
Tim Henderson surveys the American real estate, which is generally defined by a gap in black homeownership, for examples of communities where black homeownership is the norm.
For example, Henderson begins the article with an anecdote from the city of Olympia Fields, Illinois, where the black homeownership rate is 98 percent, and a dramatic outlier compared to the rest of the country.
Nationally, the black homeownership rate is only 41 percent — virtually unchanged from 50 years ago, when the federal Fair Housing Act banned racial discrimination in housing. The national white homeownership rate is 71 percent. Incredibly, the gap between black and white homeownership rates is wider now than it was in 1900, according to a study released in April by Zillow, an online real estate company.
According to Henderson, there are four other lack-majority municipalities with homeownership rates of at least 80 percent—Flossmoor, Lynwood, Matteson and South Holland—proximate to Chicago and Olympia Fields. "That is no accident: In the 1990s, a group called Diversity, Inc. helped to boost black homeownership in the area by sending black and white buyers to home sellers to ferret out discrimination, and filing lawsuits when they were treated differently," explains Henderson.
The article expands its geographic reach for lessons about the historic causes of the gap in black homeownership and, in perhaps less well documented information, finds seeds for future success in the communities with majority black homeownership.