AUSTIN (KXAN) — Black families in Texas own homes at a rate far below that of white families, a new study from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) finds.
About two-in-five black Texans (39%) own homes, considerably lower than the 66% of white families who do. Nationally, 41% of black families and 71% of white families are homeowners, the study shows.
The group compiled the statistics from the 2018 American Community Survey, a tool developed by the U.S. Census Bureau to track demographic changes between official census years. The highest rate of black homeownership is in Mississippi at 54%.
In Austin, the market is seeing a steady increase in families buying homes, Austin Board of Realtors president Romeo Manzanilla told KXAN.
“Our economy is really fueling the homeownership here in Austin,” he said.
Affordability and a low housing stock continue to be barriers for many families looking to buy in the area, he said, but a generally strong job market is moving the needle toward higher ownership rates regardless.
Groups like the National Association of Real Estate Brokers are working to improve the rate of African American homeownership, he added, and that organization says its efforts are paying.
Numbers NAREB published earlier this year indicate a positive buying trend in the 4th quarter of 2019. The black homeownership rate at the end of the year, the organization said, was 44%, representing the second straight quarter of growth in the demographic.
“The nation’s economic vibrancy, lower unemployment levels, a restored confidence in purchasing real estate and low interest rates, coupled with an increasingly more informed Black consumer can all be factored into the six months of rate increases,” the real estate broker group said.
Hispanic homeownership in Texas
The NAR figures point to a significant bright spot in Texas: The rate of Hispanic homeownership is 12 percentage points above the national average.
Texas ranks 6th in the nation in the metric; 57% of Hispanic families owned homes here in 2018, compared to 45% nationally, the NAR study shows.
Earlier this month, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) reported an even higher national rate at the end of 2019, 47.5%, noting it represented the fifth-straight year of growth.
Since 2009, the group says, Hispanic homebuyers represented more than half of the total growth in U.S. homeownership. “The vibrancy of the Latino homebuyer population helped to pull our industry out of recession in 2012 and continues to drive growth in markets all across the United States,” NAHREP president David Acosta said in a news release.
That group is helping drive more families to buy, Manzanilla told KXAN, but so are the economic differences between Texas and states like California and Florida.
“It’s a lot more affordable here,” he said, “so I think you know we’ve seen a lot of people relocate to the Texas area, as well as Austin, and we’ve seen an increase in Hispanic homeownership as a result.”