An Honest Conversation on minority homeownership

Today’s HousingWire Daily features the first episode of Honest Conversations, a miniseries on minority homeownership hosted by HousingWire Digital Media Manager Alcynna Lloyd. The podcast aims to examine the state of minority homeownership in America.

In this episode, Lloyd interviews Michael Neal, a senior research associate in the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute, about the history and data behind minority homeownership.

Neal, whose experience includes working at Fannie Mae as a director of economics in the Economic and Strategic Research division, as well serving as the assistant vice president at NAHB’s Economic and Housing Policy department, explains how inequality within housing came to be and what it means for today’s borrowers.

Here is a small preview of the interview, which has been lightly edited for length and clarity:

Alcynna Lloyd: History shows as we examine relationships between federal organizations like the HOLC, FHA and private banks, lenders, and real estate agents, there’s a story of standardized policies that have promoted segregation in the housing market. How has it impacted the legacy of housing for people of color in America today?

Michael Neal: I think that’s such a key question because of where we are today. That is, by and large, why we have seen a bit of an improvement in the homeownership rate for African Americans in the few years leading up to the current pandemic. The gap between African Americans and white Americans with respect to homeownership, remained as wide as it was back in the days in which we were talking about, in spite of a lot of the policy action that has been taken to try to eradicate it. I think that is very important, because number one, homeownership has very important implications for family outcomes, and not just wealth, not just in terms of housing equity, but also in terms of household stability, development of the community in which you live, as well as political clout. We know that homeowners in a particular community tend to have a stronger say and tend to be much more involved in local politics than, say, renters. So, all of that I think is combined and really puts minority homeownership into a very key light.

Honest Conversations is a miniseries that examines the state of minority homeownership and the factors that have contributed to inequality within American housing. Each Wednesday, tune into HousingWire Daily as we aim to provide listeners with a greater perspective on how race, housing, and wealth intersect and what experts are doing to close the gap. Sponsored by Caliber Home Loans and hosted and produced by Alcynna Lloyd.

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