In honor of Black History Month, my column this week is being written by local business leader and owner of Bates Realty, Kay Bates.
James Rowten (JR)
As a minority business owner in the quaint city of Escondido, I take great pride in everything our community has to offer. Escondido is home to a variety of small businesses and the business owners reflect the diversity of its constituents. There are many minority owned businesses whose owners come from all walks of life and this is something the community takes great pride in. We are determined to make Escondido home for all ethnic groups.
I get excited about celebrating Black History Month and about sharing this information with all San Diegans. It is only fitting as a real estate broker that I address the issues with Black Home Ownership. Home ownership is the key to creating wealth and improving your net worth, however, only certain a group of people have been afforded this opportunity. Did you know that at the beginning of 2020 only 44% of African Americans were homeowners, while 74% of white Americans owned homes? According to the Urban Institute, 39% of white millennials aged 18 to 34 owned a house, while just 14.4% of black millennials do.
Over the years there have been some efforts to address this issue, like the Civil Rights Act of 1866. This prohibited housing discrimination, but it failed as there was no federal enforcement. Let’s not forget the Civil Right Act of 1968, otherwise known as the Fair Housing Act, prohibiting discrimination in housing sales, rentals and financing based on race, religion and origin. One example was Redlining. Redlining is a discriminatory practice that puts services (housing) out of reach for residents of certain areas based on race or ethnicity.
Historically, home ownership is considered one of the best ways to grow wealth, and it’s still true today. Homeownership rates in the black community directly correlate to net worth, where there is a lot of disparity. I believe that working with the right lending partners that focuses on education in, legacy, retirement, savings, improving credit scores and building net worth are instrumental to this cause. My brokerage is involved with National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), the first black real estate brokerage whose goal is to increase African American Homeownership one family at a time.
What inspires me most is being an advocate for all my clients every step of the way. One of my goals is to increase African American Homeownership through activism of education. Face to Face if possible, or ZOOM. Have discussions on how we triumph with facts and figures. Look at their goals and how I can help them achieve it by design. I’m my best self when I’m with a client that needs my expertise and we are able to watch goals come to fruition.
There is no greater feeling than handing KEYS to a First-time homeowner, and knowing what they overcame to get there.