Homeownership an Uphill Battle for Black New Yorkers

Black home buyers face an array of challenges when trying to buy homes, leading to a widening gap between Black and white homeowners.

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September 2, 2021, 11:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


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An article by Stefanos Chen highlights the challenges faced by Black homeowners in New York City, as well as the successes some have had as a result of their perseverance in the face of systemic barriers and rising housing costs. "The pandemic has compounded the challenges of an already difficult housing market, particularly for Black home buyers, who face a range of additional obstacles, and it threatens to widen the gap between Black and white homeownership to levels not seen since housing discrimination was made illegal five decades ago."

This sets up a worrying trend, as "[h]omeownership is often the largest source of intergenerational wealth for families. In 2015, the median net worth for white households was $139,300, and $156,300 for Asian households, compared to just $19,990 for Hispanic households, and $12,780 for Black households, according to a census report." In New York, the number of Black homeowners dropped by 10 percent between 2002 and 2008, with the decline continuing until at least 2017.

"New York is one of the most segregated cities in the country, and Black residents don’t always benefit from fast-rising prices in racially divided communities undergoing gentrification," writes Chen. "But after decades of discriminatory housing policies, some of the city’s Black homeowner enclaves persist in part because they remain cultural hubs for people of color."

Friday, September 17, 2021 in New York Times

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