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Even after 1968 Fair Housing Act, Black families still struggle, BHN Real Estate Reports reveals

Black homeownership threatened by modern redlining tactics by banks

By Black Headline News

One would think that once a bill is passed through congress and signed into law by its president, that the law would protect the victims who were wronged in the past by their aggressors---However, the 1968 Fair housing Act signed into law by U. S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, has proven time and time again to fail those it is suppose to protect.

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Federal Housing Administration (F.H.A.), created to assist homeownership for US citizens by providing federal-loan guarantees to prospective buyers, before the 1968 Fair housing Act, Black Americans were intentionally kept out of this housing governmental assistance for decades.

The 1968 Act expanded on previous acts and prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex, (and as amended) handicap and family status. Title VIII of the Act is also known as the Fair Housing Act (of 1968).

This Act held high hopes to help integrate communities into diverse background and ethnicities, allowing the equity of quality living throughout all neighborhoods. Of course, flaws in this utopia-thinking continue to this day.

The persistence of redlining, the Great Recession, gentrification and the increasing number of homes being scooped up by investors all have contributed to a growing Black-White disparity in homeownership, which is larger now than it was in the early 1960s, before the 1968 Fair Housing Act and other civil rights legislation, according to Stateline reporter, Tim Henderson.

Recent redlining complaints against banks accused of denying loans to buyers in predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods illustrate the existing barriers.

Last month, for example, New Jersey-based Lakeland Bank created a $12 million homeownership fund as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, which had accused it of redlining. The bank did not admit to wrongdoing, but it agreed to increase mortgage lending in communities of color in the wake of a seven-year federal investigation of its lending practices.

Black homeownership dropped to a 60-year low even before the economic turmoil wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Advocates remain dismayed at how, decades after the 1968 Fair Housing Act, Black families still struggle to become homeowners at the same rate as White peers.

“To see the Black homeownership rate lower than the generation before is shocking, considering what earlier generations faced,” said Janneke Ratcliffe, vice president of the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, housing affordability is hitting a record low due to the ongoing building material supply chain bottlenecks that increased construction costs. This marks the third straight quarterly record low for housing affordability since the Great Recession, trailing the previous mark of 42.2% in the third quarter and 42.8% set in the second quarter.

“Rising mortgage rates, supply chain disruptions, elevated construction costs and a lack of skilled workers and lots all contributed to a declining housing market and worsening affordability conditions going back to the second quarter of last year,” said NAHB Chairman Alicia Huey, a custom home builder from Birmingham, Ala. “But we are anticipating a better affordability climate in the months ahead, with mortgage rates already posting a modest drop since the beginning of the year and expectations that the Federal Reserve will end its latest string of interest rate hikes by the end of the first quarter.”

The gap between White and Black homeownership rates is wider now than it was in 1960, when housing discrimination was rampant and legal, U.S. Census Bureau data shows. In 2022, 74.6% of White households owned their homes, compared with 45.3% of Black households — a gap of more than 29 points. In 1960, the White homeownership rate was 65%, and the Black rate was 38%, a 27-point gap.

Most affordable places to live

Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Ind., was the nation’s most affordable major housing market, defined as a metro with a population of at least 500,000. There, 75.9% of all new and existing homes sold in the fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $94,100, according to NAHB.

Top five affordable major housing markets:

  1. Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Ind.

  2. Rochester, N.Y.

  3. Pittsburgh, Pa.

  4. Toledo, Ohio

  5. Dayton-Kettering, Ohio

Least affordable places to live

For the ninth straight quarter, Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif., remained the nation’s least affordable major housing market. There, just 2.2% of the homes sold during the fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $91,100.

Top five least affordable major housing markets—all located in California:

  1. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale

  2. Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine

  3. San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad

  4. San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City

  5. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara

The top five least affordable small housing markets were also in the Golden State. At the very bottom of the affordability chart was Salinas, Calif., where 5.0% of all new and existing homes sold in the fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $90,100.

Top five least affordable small housing markets—all located in California:

  1. Salinas

  2. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara

  3. Napa

  4. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles

  5. Santa Rosa-Petaluma


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