In their recent report “Why Do Households of Color Own Only a Quarter of the Nation’s Housing Wealth When They Compose a Third of the Nation’s Households?,” researchers at the Urban Institute explore why households of color build less wealth from homeownership than white households and how policymakers can address this discrepancy.
Using a statistical model to pinpoint the most essential determinants of higher home values and to identify ;policy steps to decrease housing wealth gaps between white and nonwhite households, researchers found several household, property, and neighborhood characteristics that corresponded to higher home values among white and Asian households. However, they also found that Black, Hispanic, and other nonwhite households had lower home values even when controlling for these aforementioned characteristics, indicating that more research needs to be done to determine what other factors are at play (for example, the United States’ history of systemic racism).
The report offers several possible interventions at the household, property, and neighborhood level that policymakers could employ to erode structural barriers that often prevent nonwhite households from achieving or fully benefiting financially from homeownership. Because homes owned by Black and Hispanic families are more likely than those of white families to be impacted by rising sea levels, flooding, wildfires, and other effects of the growing climate crisis, the report also notes that further research on the impact of climate change on nonwhite households could also help inform policy interventions that build climate resilience and increase wealth equity for these households.