Dear Realtists,
I recently had the privilege of being interviewed in an article published in the Washington Post on Saturday, March 2, 2019, titled “ The ‘heartbreaking‘ decrease in black homeownership.” The article highlights that in 2004, the pinnacle of homeownership in the United States, nearly half of all African American families owned a home. Yet, over the past decade, the real estate fortunes for African Americans have reversed course. Despite a strengthening economy homeownership levels for Blacks have dropped incrementally almost every year since 2004.
It fell to 41.7 percent at the end of 2018, virtually erasing all of the gains made since the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968, landmark legislation outlawing housing discrimination. The decline comes even as whites, Asian Americans and Latinos slowly see gains in home buying. The reasons for the downturn in the black homeownership rate are varied and complex, experts say. They include a lack of affordable housing in some areas and chronically low inventory in others. Rising student debt is increasingly an issue.
Realtists strongly believe that democracy in housing is no longer only about having the right to choose the community where you physically reside. This belief has expanded to forming communities of opportunity by investing in the neighborhoods and the people who live there. I encourage you to join our organization in focusing on implementing initiatives that identify economic solutions, rebuild communities, increase real estate values, and elevate the rate of Black homeownership in this country.

- Leonte Benton, President