Ohio is one of the states with the widest minority homeownership gap, with African Americans and Hispanics significantly lagging behind the majority White population. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau reveals that Ohio’s Black homeownership rate is just 30.3%, a full 13.7% lower than Whites and 10.8% lower than Hispanics.
This disparity is in spite of a general uptick in homeownership across the nation. According to the National Association of Realtors, the overall rate of homeownership has grown by 0.8% since 2017. But the increase in Black homeownership has not kept pace, with the rate only increasing by 0.3%.
The reason for this disparity is not clear, but experts point to systemic issues such as the legacy of discrimination, income inequality, and the lack of access to credit as possible root causes.
A recent study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that Black and Hispanic borrowers are significantly more likely to be denied mortgage applications than White applicants. This trend is seen even when applicants have similar credit scores, income levels, and loan-to-value ratios.
The repercussions of this discrimination can be seen in neighborhoods across Ohio. Areas where the majority of residents are Black or Hispanic tend to have lower median home values than comparable White neighborhoods.
The Ohio Housing Finance Agency is trying to address this problem with programs such as the Ohio Heroes program, which provides down payment assistance to active-duty military personnel, veterans, teachers, and first responders.
Despite these efforts, the minority homeownership gap persists. The data shows that Ohio still has a long way to go before it can close the gap between African Americans and Hispanics and the majority White population.