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The gap between black and white homeownership has grown in 100 years—here’s why

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According to a Zillow analysis, black homebuyers can afford fewer homes on the market due to median household income.

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How difficult is it to buy a home if you’re a black person in the U.S.?

When it comes to buying a house—a major factor in building wealth in the America—a white buyer can afford 77.6 percent of homes that are listed on the housing market.

However, his or her black counterpart can only afford 55.3 percent of the abodes in the same market.

According to an analysis of housing statistics from 2017 released by Zillow, the gap between homeownership rates for black and white Americans has widened since 1900.

The data continues to show that more white people own homes in America than black families. In 1900, the homeownership gap between black and white households was 27.6 percentage points. Today, it’s 30.3 percentage points.

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A glimpse of homeownership in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale area

Homeownership in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale area is reflective of the data from 2017. 59.7 percent of property listings were available for purchase by white homebuyers, while their black counterparts were eligible for 35.9 percent in 2017. Hispanics fared better, at 42.1 percent availability, with Asian buyers having the highest reach at 62 percent in 2017. In Miami, 66 percent of Asians are homeowners.

Income inequality, the silent factor in homeownership

“The divide between black and white Americans has proven stubbornly persistent across the long arc of American history, visible in incomes, accumulated wealth and homeownership,” says Zillow senior economist Aaron Terrazas.

Many factors contribute to income inequality between and white and black Americans—racism, Jim Crow laws, discriminatory housing practices, and a job market that has been unfavorable to black job seekers for the past 25 years.

The analysis shows one key determinant when buying a home—a buyer’s median household income.

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The median household income of black Americans is $39,466.

If you think that’s low, consider this: A study by the Institute for Policy Studies says the median wealth for black households will plummet to $0 by 2053. The findings estimate that 20 years later the wealth of Hispanic households will hit zero, too.

On the other hand, the median wealth of white households will be $137,000 by 2053.

“Just three years from now—white households are projected to own 86 times more wealth than black households, and 68 times more wealth than Latino households,” the study says.

In comparison, a white buyer who earns a $58,978 median income is eligible to buy 74.2 percent of houses in 2017. This means that a white American homebuyer can incur the cost of a home that’s priced two-thirds higher than a black household in 2017.

When it comes to buying a house that’s listed at $155,000, Asian buyers can afford more than white homebuyers. In 2017, white buyers afforded 77.6 percent of homes on the market compared to Asian households, who netted 85.2 percent of them.

The median income of Hispanic households was 64.9 percent in 2017.