Housing Shortage Hits Black Homebuyers Hardest

Number of the Day: The most relevant or interesting figure in personal finance


That's how many Black households in the U.S. make less than $100,000 a year—an increasing limitation on their housing options in today's high-priced, low-inventory market, according to a new analysis.

Since the pandemic hit, the real estate market hasn’t been able to keep up with the demand, and record low numbers of homes for sale have pushed prices relentlessly higher. That means the number of homes that are affordable on a middle-class income has shrunk dramatically, putting homeownership out of reach for many Black families, according to an analysis the National Association of Realtors and Realtor.com published Monday. 

For example, in December 2019, a family making between $50,000 and $74,999 a year could afford 450,223 listings, and a family making between $75,000 and $99,999 could afford 656,200 listings, the group found. By December 2021, the number of affordable homes had dropped to 165,277 for the first income bracket and 245,257 for the second. (For reference, the median household income in the U.S. as of 2020 was $67,521).

Households earning $100,000 to $124,999 have also seen their choices shrink, but they could afford 306,632 homes on the market in 2021, so their options aren’t nearly as scarce. The thing is, the chances of meeting that threshold vary dramatically by race. Only 20% of Black households make more than $100,000 a year compared to 25% of Hispanic households, 35% of White households, and 48% of Asian ones, the association said, citing data on income from Nielsen.  

“The low inventory challenge is particularly acute for some racial and ethnic groups who have faced greater hurdles to homeownership stemming from, among other things, lower incomes as a group,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com, in a statement. The analysis considered a home affordable if total costs—including insurance and taxes—would require no more than 30% of income.

Have a question, comment, or story to share? You can reach Diccon at dhyatt@thebalance.com.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Association of Realtors. "The 'Double Trouble' of the Housing Market."

  2. Census Bureau. “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2020.”

  3. National Association of Realtors. “Record-High Prices and Record-Low Inventory Make It Increasingly Difficult to Achieve Homeownership, Particularly for Black Americans.”

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