Rising Home Prices Most Pronounced in Communities of Color

U.S. home values appreciated sharply during the pandemic, particularly in communities of color, where prices rose by as much as 10.3%.

May 25, 2021, 10:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Wheelchair accessible home

romakoma / Shutterstock

Thanks to "historically low interest rates, strong demand, and the tightest supply conditions seen in 40 years," home prices "rose significantly" across the United States over the last year. "From December 2019 to 2020, nominal home values increased in 92 percent of the 30,000 zip codes tracked by Zillow (which contain 99 percent of the nation’s population)." This growth, write Alexander Hermann and Thomas Shay Hill in Housing Perspectives, was particularly pronounced in communities of color, where home value growth "outpaced less diverse zip codes."

According to research conducted by Hermann and Hill, "Typical home values in December rose 9.3 percent on average in communities of color—including 10.3 percent in zip codes where a majority of the population is Black—compared with 6.6 percent in neighborhoods where at least 90 percent of the population is white." In major cities, these neighborhoods "tend to have higher-than-average population densities, lower median incomes, lower home values, and a lower rate of homeownership than the metro area as a whole," characteristics which correlate with home price growth.

Yet "[d]espite faster average growth, home prices continued to decline in a disproportionate share of these zip codes. Looking ahead, both stagnating home prices and extreme price volatility might compound the challenges faced by communities of color, and Black communities in particular, in building wealth."

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