Black homeownership rates are in free-fall. All homeownership rates have declined steadily since 2004, and they’re now hovering at their lowest levels since the mid-1990s. But black homeowners, targeted disproportionately by subprime lenders during the housing bubble, suffered tremendous losses in the subsequent foreclosure crisis. Today, African-American homeownership rates are at their lowest levels in 50 years—since before the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968.
This crisis is so significant that many African-American households may no longer aspire to buy homes, according to Dan Immergluck, professor in urban studies at Georgia State University. Some studies find that homeownership carries more risk than upside for black households. The recovery largely bypassed black households, for reasons that range from tighter credit markets to damaged credit scores to poor enforcement of fair housing law. “Blacks were pummeled by the crisis but haven’t been able to benefit from the recovery,” he says.