The Pandemic Fueled A Housing Boom But Affordability, Supply Issues And Racial Homeownership Disparities Persist
Owning a home is part of the "American dream," but homeownership isn't always so easily achieved — especially for people of color — and became even more difficult during the pandemic and because of its economic impacts.
Home sales were frozen during pandemic shutdowns, then skyrocketed in the second half of 2020. Texas' major cities are among the most active real estate markets nationwide.
But the housing market continues to be volatile amid high demand and ongoing affordability and supply issues. Most homebuying now is on the higher end of the market. Experts say the unprecedented low level of homes available for sale is currently the greatest challenge.
What is the current state of housing markets in Texas and across the U.S.? Which economic indicators help to discern important housing-market trends? Is the market still considered unhealthy, and what needs to happen for it to rebound to the pre-pandemic "normal"?
How has COVID-19 impacted the individual home-buying decision-making, capacity and experience? What are the biggest challenges and barriers to homeownership in the U.S.? Should Americans buy a home in a super-hot housing market, or wait it out? What factors should be considered?
Homeownership is one of the most effective ways for families to build intergenerational wealth, but many people in marginalized groups have been left out. In the last 15 years, there's been a dramatic decline in Black homeownership — more than any other racial or ethnic group in the U.S.
According to the Urban Institute, the U.S. Black homeownership rate is 42.3% while white ownership stands at 72.2% — a gap that wider today than it was in the 1960s, and that could worsen in coming decades if left unaddressed.
Why is there a gap in U.S. home ownership and what can be done to bridge the divide? What polices and practices have contributed to existing homeownership disparities? What programs and initiatives are working to help prospective Black homeowners?
What can be done to save the homeownership dreams of low- to moderate-income families who are worried about preserving their homes?
- Luis Torres, Ph.D., research economist with the Texas A&M Real Estate Center
- Makada Henry-Nickie, Ph.D., Governance Studies fellow at the Brookings Institution
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*This interview was recorded on Tuesday, August 3.