Gap between Black and white homeownership has widened, data shows

See the full story on the additional challenges Black homeowners face on KING 5 at 6:30pm and 11pm

SEATTLE — The gap in home ownership rates between black and white families in the United States is larger today than it was when it was legal to refuse to sell someone a home because of the color of their skin, according to data from the Institute. Urban.

The percentage of Blacks who own a home in Washington state is 31.1%, well below the national average of 42.6% and less than half of the white home ownership rate in Washington state, at 64%.

That means fewer Black families own homes than white families in Washington and across the country.

What are the reasons behind these disparities? The Race against KING 5 team pulled back layers of inequality and bias in the real estate industry, which meant fewer and fewer Black families were able to buy and keep their homes.

Stay home

Owning a home can be difficult. For Keisha Credit, keeping a home is even harder.

“When I got the house, I thought, ‘Keisha, don’t lose that house,’” says Credit, a small business coach and entrepreneur based in Seattle’s Central District.

Two years ago, Credit’s grandfather passed away leaving her a home in the Central District. It has been in their family for 54 years.

Tin is lucky to receive the house as an inheritance. According to a recent survey conducted by the Federal Reserve, Black families are less likely to receive an inheritance than white families, which could help future home owners. pay a deposit. Only 26% of Black families receive or expect to receive an inheritance, compared with 47% of white families.

The day after her grandfather’s funeral, Credit said she received the first of many persistent and predatory letters.

“The next day, there was a letter on my stairs that said, ‘Hey, you know, we heard Dan passed away. We want to buy your home. We can give you $800,000,'” Credit said.

Eight hundred thousand dollars is a low offer in a neighborhood where some homes are selling for as much as $3 million. Credit said she never intended to sell the house because her grandfather wanted her to keep it.

“[My grandfather] will always be, ‘At least I own my house,'” Credit said. “That’s all. Like it was his source of comfort. It is his source of peace and stability.

The Seattle story goes viral

When Credit began the grand task of renovating a house that hadn’t really been updated since it was built in the 1960s, she decided to document her process on TikTok. Along the way, she shared tidbits about the incredibly low and constant offers she received when buying a home. Her post quickly garnered millions of views.

In one of her TikTok videos that have been viewed more than 4 million times, she explains, “[People] felt like, ‘Oh, these Black families are going to lose their home as soon as someone dies, so let me join in and make my claim’, without realizing that some of them We know what the hell is going on and we’re not selling.”

Now, Credit is teaching others to spot the scams and tricks used to push people of color to sell their homes.

“They use all these tactics to try to scare you, make you feel as if you can’t stay on your own land,” she said.

But those trivial offers are just the beginning.

Notice of fake collection

Soon, Credit’s mailboxes were filled with legitimate-looking collection notices claiming she was late in paying property taxes or owed money to the IRS.

“When I started getting letters that said, ‘Hey, you know, you’re being late on your taxes,’ I looked at it, because I thought, ‘Well, how did that happen? so? In this property transfer, did I miss anything?’”, Credit said. “And that’s when I understood, wait a minute. This is not realistic. Their goal is either to get you into a terrible loan to get you to sign a home contract, do some form of reverse mortgage.”

Dr. Angelique Davis, professor of political science and African American studies at Seattle University, said the practice was “basically cheating.”

“I mean, this is completely false information,” Davis said. “And in many ways, they are being staged.”

She said what happened to Credit may not be illegal, but it is unethical

“These are predatory behaviors that are taking place. And we’ve seen the effects of that with urban revitalization in particular in the Central District,” Davis said.

Credit knows what losing her home will cost her in the long run.

“Generation equity and wealth has been achieved, it will take you twice as long to then go back to the place of a family and continue to grow. So to think we can sell now, buy something, go somewhere else and keep multiplying… the chances are very low,” she said.


Once that wealth is washed away it is not easy to start over. Just ask Kateesha Atterberry.

KING 5 reporter PJ Randhawa met Atterberry outside the Rainier Beach house she grew up in.

“My room is in the attic. There are a lot of black people in this neighborhood. It just brings back so many memories,” Atterberry said.

The house has belonged to her family since the 1960s. However, when Atterberry was a freshman in high school, her parents made a financial decision that would change her life.

“[They got] a bad loan that they are not educated and prepared for when it comes. So, unfortunately, the house was foreclosed upon,” Atterberry said.

The impact is devastating. As a result, Atterberry was forced to transfer high schools several times and no longer had a stable home.

“I had plans to go to UW’s Foster School of Business, join the gymnastics team and then go to the Olympics. That was my plan and then with the loss of my home, it got me off track,” Atterberry said. “I have to stay at my cousin’s house, lounging on a couch, or be with multiple people in an apartment or a room. And that goes on for years.”

‘Racist classes’

Data from real estate experts shows that when it comes to buying a home, Black families are going to have a hard time in the first place.

According to state data, it can take the average Black household nearly 30 years to save enough upfront. Compared with white borrowers, African-Americans are two and a half times more likely to be denied a loan.

That’s partly because Black families are more likely to also have student loan debt and higher debt-to-income ratios that banks consider risky when approving loans. Even when Black families were able to buy a home, barriers and disparities piled up.

According to Harvard University, Black families pay higher interest rates than white homeowners even if they are considered “high earners,” which in this case means earning between $75,000 and $100,000 per year. .

Black houses are also rated as less valuable.

Some recent studies show that homes in predominantly Black neighborhoods are often valued at up to 23% less than comparable homes in white neighborhoods.

“Like, this double, triple class racism is going on. So you’re not just paying more for an undervalued home, that’s right, and then you can’t use that money to help leverage more wealth for you and your family. your family,” Davis said.

RELATED: After low appraisal, Black Seattle family ‘whitewashed’ home, sold for higher price

“There are too many barriers. When you hear people say, ‘Lift yourself up with your efforts,’ what they don’t take into account is the historical significance of being a person of color in this country,” Atterberry said.

Fifteen years after losing her childhood home, Atterberry still doesn’t own a home of her own. She worries her children won’t have the idyllic childhood she had in this quiet corner of Rainer Beach.

“It’s been almost two decades and it’s still impossible to get this back,” she said.

Atterberry is the founder and chief executive officer of Urban Black, a community-focused company dedicated to developing innovative, sustainable and culturally relevant land projects that transform neighborhoods and promote economic value in diverse communities.

“I feel it is helping the next generation better understand home ownership, wealth, economics,” Atterberry said.

Back in the Central District, Credit’s TikTok warnings about makeovers, fake property tax bills and black home ownership were picked up by national media, including Dr. . Phil Show, welcome.

“Every day I say you are not going to let this system win. Because this system is not for you. No system is built for you. There is no safety net for you. Nothing in all of these systems, other than your grandfather, was made for you,” she said.

Credit hopes to turn the tide by helping Black families overcome the challenges of buying a home, while she struggles to keep her home.

“This is more than just your home as a place to stay,” says Credit. “It is an opportunity for a whole generation. So you better fight for it because it matters.

Help buy a house

For those who need help buying a home, see the list below for links to federal and state programs available to provide assistance.

Fair Housing Act Programs

Over the past decade, more than 275,000 Washington families have used FHA-insured mortgages to buy their homes, according to their website.

Statewide and regional programs

West Washington

East Washington

Clock: KING 5 Head-to-Head Race Playlist Gap between Black and white homeownership has widened, data shows

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