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HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 02-065
(202) 708-0685

For Release
June 17, 2002

New HUD Report Identifies Barriers to Minority Homeownership

Report Outlines Bush Administration Actions to Overcome Barriers

WASHINGTON - Despite increases in homeownership among minority families, a new Bush Administration analysis shows that a large gap still exists between minority and white households. The report identifies the multiple barriers to homeownership faced by minority families and outlines steps the Bush Administration is taking to eliminate them, including a total of $2.7 billion in housing initiatives that will help more than 333,000 low- and moderate-income families own their own homes.

[Photo: Cover of Barriers to Minority Homeownership report]

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez released the report, Barriers To Minority Homeownership, as he and President George W. Bush visited an Atlanta neighborhood that is being revitalized. The HUD report is based on updated statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. The analysis shows that since 1994, when the black homeownership rate was 27.5 percentage points below the rate of whites and the Hispanic rate was 28.8 percentage points below, only small gains have been made. By 2001 the gap had been reduced by just 1.6 percentage points for African-Americans and 1.8 percentage points for Hispanic households.

On Saturday, June 15th, President Bush devoted his Radio Address to the Nation to the barriers faced by minority homeowners. "Today, while nearly three-quarters of all white Americans own their homes, less than half of all African Americans and Hispanic Americans are homeowners. We must begin to close this homeownership gap by dismantling the barriers that prevent minorities from owning a piece of the American dream," the President said.

[Image: Cover of Barriers to Minority Homeownership report]

"Our analysis shows that many minority Americans face significant barriers to homeownership, from saving money for a down payment, to unnecessary local regulation, to continued housing discrimination," said HUD Secretary Martinez. "The American Dream should be more than just a dream for America's minorities," he added. "Through our commitment and the President's initiatives we will help more minority families make the American Dream a reality."

Barriers to Minority Homeownership

HUD's analysis identified five significant barriers that prevent minority families from becoming homeowners. Those barriers include:

  • Lack of capital for the down payment and closing costs, often the single greatest barrier to homeownership;
  • Lack of access to credit and poor credit histories, which means more minority families are rejected for a mortgage loan or given loans with high interest rates;
  • Lack of understanding and information about the homebuying process, especially for families for whom English is a second language;
  • Regulatory burdens imposed on the production of housing - zoning, land development and site planning, building codes - and when barriers are intentional through the "Not In My Back Yard" syndrome; and
  • Illegal housing discrimination.

Overcoming Barriers to Homeownership

The report highlights $2.7 billion in Bush Administration initiatives to help minority families become homeowners:

  • To help with down payment costs, the President's FY2003 budget proposed $200 million for the American Dream Downpayment Fund, which will set 130,000 first-time homebuyers on the path to owning their own home.
  • The Administration has also proposed providing thousands of low-income Americans the opportunity to move into their own homes with the help of HUD's Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. The new plan enables low-income families to use up to one-year's worth of housing voucher payments toward the down payment on a home.
  • Housing counseling is a proven resource that can address the lack of understanding many minority families have about the homebuying process, as well as a financial literacy and credit rehabilitation tool for families with poor credit histories. The Administration has proposed a separate $35 million housing counseling program - a 75 percent increase in funding - to complement the Department's array of new homeownership initiatives. For example, the additional funding will enable counseling agencies hire and train bilingual counselors and also produce written materials in multiple languages to reach out to minority households.
  • Another initiative to encourage homeownership is SHOP, the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program. SHOP empowers faith-based and other community organizations, like Habitat for Humanity and others dedicated to turning low-income Americans into homeowners, and the Administration has proposed tripling SHOP funds to $65 million. This will help support the construction of 3,800 homes, fueled in part by the "sweat equity" of participating families.
  • In addition, the Administration has proposed a $2.4 billion Single-Family Affordable Tax Credit that will help develop and rehabilitate 200,000 single-family homes. This investor-based tax credit will encourage developers and non-profit organizations to build new single-family affordable houses or rehabilitate existing ones, and will result in additional affordable homes available for purchase in low-income neighborhoods.

Private Sector Involvement and Commitment

Barriers To Minority Homeownership found that the overall minority homeownership rate in 1994 was 26.8 percentage points below the rate for white households. By 2001, the gap had been reduced only 1.5 percentage points for all minorities. It concluded that if the persistent gaps in minority homeownership are to be substantially narrowed, the structural barriers faced by minority families, or those that have a pronounced effect on minority communities, must be eliminated.

It noted that the increase in minority homeownership occurred in an extremely positive low-interest-rate, low-unemployment economic environment. Moreover, during the 1990s the conventional mortgage industry began offering a wider range of affordable lending programs. The analysis determined that these factors are not enough to close the homeownership gap. The initial increase of innovation in the conventional market has already reached many of those that were poised to become homeowners, and because future economic conditions are unpredictable, a reduction of the gap in homeownership levels of non-Hispanic whites and other minority families cannot be assumed.

While the Administration's actions will increase minority homeownership, private sector actors involved in the real estate and mortgage lending industries will need to increase their levels of product innovation and marketing to minority families in order to sustain growth rates.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities, creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans, supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. HUD also promotes economic and community development and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet.

Read the new HUD report, Barriers To Minority Homeownership.

Learn more about becoming a homeowner on HUD's National Homeownership Month page.



Content Archived: April 9, 2010

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