Housing Market Recovery Ignores a Few Key Demographics

June 23, 2014 by No Comments

The housing market seems to have recovered since the recession — homes are selling faster and for more money than even a year ago. However, a new report compiled by scholars from top universities has revealed that the widely-publicized housing recovery hasn’t affected neighborhoods of color or working-class households.

The report, titled “Underwater America,” examined negative equity and foreclosure data in zip codes across the country to create a picture of how far Americans have really recovered since the housing crisis of 2008.

“Underwater America,” which was published by the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, reveals that one out of 10 Americans (about 28.7 million) live in one of the 100 cities hit the hardest by the housing crisis. Throughout the 395 hardest-hit zip codes, African-Americans and Hispanics compose at least half of the population.

“The Underwater America report is important because it reveals that a large part of the country is not only not recovering, it is largely being ignored,” john a. powell, Haas Institute Director and Professor of Law, Ethnic and African-American Studies at UC Berkeley, said. “These are disproportionately Black and Latino communities.

The fact that so many African-American and Hispanic households are underwater with their mortgages is troubling, especially since homeownership represents 92% of the average African American’s net worth and 67% of the average Latinos’, according to a districtchronicles.com article. In comparison, a home owned by whites only accounts for 58% of their wealth. And despite rising home prices in many areas of the country, owner-occupied housing still remains $3.2 trillion below 2006 levels.

To reverse the racial divide in the housing recovery, the Haas report recommends tactics like “a defined role for nonprofit organizations in addition to efforts by governments and banks.” However, it will likely be long before a major change is noticed.

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