The latest New York Times/CBS News poll points out a traditional truth: Nearly nine out of ten Americans regardless of background want to own a home.
Underpinning that desire, the 979 people polled, whose backgrounds were not broken out by race, ethnicity, or gender, ranked assistance to those with housing problems higher than support for those individuals that are unemployed.
Unfortunately, the poll did not address, at least directly, the homeownership crisis for Blacks and other people of color. If one is to assume that they have the same dreams as others, they also want to own their own homes.
The fall in Black homeownership and rise in foreclosures from 2007 through 2010 are reviewed below in the following points made by the poll.
Fifty-three percent of respondents think that the federal government should assist homeowners in trouble with mortgage payments to help improve the housing market. Ninety percent consider mortgage interest deduction as important and 10 percent as very important.
Only 36 percent of those polled approved of how President Obama has handled the housing problem and 45 percent disapproved. At least 42 percent of poll takers blame lenders for causing the housing debacle, while 29 percent blame federal regulators that let it happen.
A key paragraph in the article spoke to the disquiet that potential homebuyers feel. It said, “Making an offer for a house, something often done in past generations with little apprehension, is now riddled with worry. Only 49 percent call it a safe investment, while 45 percent feel it is risky. In a market where prices are consistently dropping, there is no easy exit.”
The tricky part of course is the role African-Americans play in the homeownership dream scenario, that went unaddressed at least directly in the poll.
Current homeownership data related to Black homeownership is about a year older than the poll results, but as the economy remains flat and Black unemployment stays high, it is still relevant.
Last year, The Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) published “Foreclosures by Race and Ethnicity: The Demographics of a Crisis.” Using statistics gathered from 2007 through September 2010, the CRL focused on the wealth disparities between racial and ethnic groups that impact homeownership. The CRL reported that “from 2000 to 2009, real median income for Latinos dropped from more than $41,000 down to $38,000. For African Americans, the decline was from roughly $37,000 down to $32,500.”
Consequently, the CRL reported that the rate of Black homeownership fell from 48 percent to 46.2 percent. There were also higher rates of foreclosures among people of color. By 2010, 11 percent of Black homeowners and 17 percent of Hispanics had either lost their homes or were at serious risk of doing so, compared to seven percent of whites.
September 2010 data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) also revealed that “African-American and Latino families are less likely to receive sustainable home loans; they pay more for the mortgages they do get; they are more likely to experience foreclosure; and, as a result, the gap in homeownership is rapidly growing wider between white families and families of color.”
The dream of Black homeownership still exists, but in these times it is often a dream deferred.
(Photo: Joshua Lott/Landov)