The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned. Maya Angelou
African American homeownership (pictured below) has never breached above 50 percent. Ever. According to HBCU Money data, it would take $14.7 billion in down payments for African American homeownership to just reach 50.1 percent. This is assuming that those 900,000 African American households would only be using FHA at 3.5 percent down. A debatable matter on the risk side that such low down payments would pose to households should the real estate market turn against them in the early years of their ownership. The $14.7 billion could decrease given the geography of African Americans being predominantly focused in the southeastern United States where homes on the whole are cheaper than much of the rest of the country. Using the southeastern median home price in fact would drop the $14.7 billion down to $12.3 billion. How big is this number? African American owned banks (what is left of them) only hold $4.3 billion in assets combined. The approximately 100 remaining HBCUs have combined endowments of around $3 billion. There are 44 people (none of which are African Americans) on the Forbes 400 who are individually worth more than $14.7 billion.
The causes of this are many, but the impact of it has been extremely pointed. In a country where homeownership has significant social and economic value to a group, African Americans have largely been starved of the social and economic oxygen that homeownership prevails and continue to lack the ecosystem necessary to make the sustained push above and beyond what has now become the mythical 50 percent line. But all hope is not lost.
Recently, Carla Holmes, a Norfolk State University alumnae and community banker, sat down for an interview to discuss the history of African American homeownership and more importantly the potential path forward. “I often say that community development found me. I noticed there was a need for education and training in the community and especially in the Black community in moving towards homeownership and understanding more about affordable housing.”
For the full podcast and interview click here.