The REALTORS® of Virginia connect individuals and families with the homes of their dreams. As we recognize Black History Month, there are ways REALTORS® and their partners can increase understanding of the obstacles some have faced in achieving the dream of homeownership. By doing so, REALTORS® can be a force in expanding homeownership for all.
Owning a home is the primary way in which Americans accumulate wealth. However, access to homeownership is not equal across families. In fact, the dramatic disparities in wealth between Black and White households is a direct result of lower homeownership rates among African Americans.
Black homeownership rates are significantly lower than White homeownership rates, and the gap has widened in recent years. The homeownership rate among Black households in Virginia was 47.3% in 2019, which is lower than for White, Hispanic, or Asian households in Virginia. And the homeownership gap has widened over the past two decades. In 2000, the Black-White homeownership gap was 22.9%. In 2019, the gap had increased to 26.3%.
In 2000 and 2010, the Black homeownership rate was higher than the Hispanic homeownership rate in Virginia. Over the past nine years, however, Hispanic homeownership has increased while Black homeownership has declined.
Virginia REALTORS® is committed to helping ensure that people of all races and ethnicities have choices when it comes to where they live. There are several things individual REALTORS® can do to help increase understanding of housing disparities and to promote homeownership:
- Read The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein. This book provides a comprehensive look at the history of racial segregation and housing discrimination in America, and it persuasively outlines the public- and private-sector factors that continue to reinforce gaps in homeownership.
- Take NAR’s Fairhaven Launched in November 2020, the Fairhaven simulation is an interactive training experience that allows REALTORS® to better identify and understand potential discriminatory practices in the real estate industry.
- Stay informed about the activities of the Virginia REALTORS® Diversity and Inclusion Presidential Advisory Group. The PAG was formed to make recommendations for enhancing diversity and inclusion in the real estate industry.
- Learn more about the National Association of Real Estate Brokers and their local chapters in Virginia. NAREB was founded to support and advocate for African American real estate professionals, consumers, and communities in America.
- Reach out if you want any additional information on homeownership rates in your community.