Homeownership Rate Drops to Lowest Since 1998

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Contact: Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Coordinator, 510-926-4022; 415-846-7758 (cell)

Black, Latino Rates Drop Faster Than Whites

WASHINGTON – According to U.S. Census data released this week, homeownership rates have dropped to their lowest level since 1998. Homeownership rates for Hispanics, African Americans and Native Americans have dropped more severely than for whites (2010 data for Asian Americans have not yet been reported).

The census report was released almost simultaneously with a White House release of data from the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) showing that in the past year only 472,619 homeowners have received permanent loan modifications.

“We’re seeing a dangerous trend that’s neatly summarized by these two reports,” said Preeti Vissa, Community Reinvestment Director at The Greenlining Institute. “Millions are in near-term danger of losing their homes, and relatively few are getting relief. This represents a massive drain of wealth from Latino and African American communities, who were starting with homeownership rates some 25 points lower than whites.

“While we don’t yet have 2010 data for Asian Americans, their trend through 2009 showed a drop in homeownership similar to Latinos and African Americans,” Vissa added. “If we don’t move swiftly to provide effective relief and principal reduction, mass foreclosures will continue to decimate neighborhoods and suck the life out of our economic recovery.”

The full Census Bureau report is available at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/hvs/qtr410/files/q410press.pdf.