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Report: Black homeownership down 20% in Marion County since 2010

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A report from the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana shows the Black homeownership rate has decreased in Marion County by 20% over the last decade, fueled by increasing home prices, mortgage application denials and historical disparities in lending.

The report, released Jan. 3 as part of the housing center’s 10th anniversary, is meant to empower the general public — as opposed to industry insiders — with a basic level of data and knowledge.

“Taking all of this information together, we find that while this may be a new decade, the same people and places that have been underserved for generations are the same ones losing the most ground in the current housing market,” the report says.

Find the full report here.

Some of the findings:

• Since 2010, Marion County’s homeownership rate has decreased by 8.5%. The Black homeownership rate has decreased by 20%.

• The Black homeownership rate in Marion County (34%) is less than the state (37%) and U.S. (42%).

Related: Black homeownership trends look bleak

• The white homeownership rate has been steady since 1970, but the Black homeownership rate has decreased by 31% in that time.

• Home values have increased 26% to 28% in Marion County over the last two years, resulting in an average home price of $188,960.

• Mortgage applications in Marion County increased by 45% from 2019 to 2020, but the increases were less pronounced for Black (34%) and Hispanic (24%) applicants.

• The top 50 lenders, which represent approximately 75% of all applications and loan originations, had a denial rate of 22.1% for Black applicants over the last two years. The overall denial rate was 14.2% for applications that included data on race and ethnicity.

Amy Nelson, the organization’s executive director, said part of the problem is a lack of lending data that’s publicly available. That means lenders can push back against claims of discrimination by saying the issue has to do with credit scores and the housing center doesn’t have a way to fact check that.

Nelson also said it would help to have broader use of special purpose credit programs, which are designed to help people who have historically been locked out of homeownership opportunities.

“Because of systemic discrimination in this nation’s housing and credit markets, including by the federal government itself, homeownership rates are much lower for African Americans and other people of color than for their White counterparts,” the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) said in a statement in December 2020 when it clarified how special purpose credit programs can help correct historical wrongs.

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853 or email at tylerf@indyrecorder.com. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

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