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Cities With the Largest Homeownership Gap for Minorities

Updated Nov 30, 2022

Updated Nov 30, 2022

Home > Moving > Cities With the Largest Homeownership Gap for Minorities

The “Homeownership Gap” is a persistent and pervasive issue in America today, and has been for decades. In this study, House Method takes a closer look at this discrepancy in minority homeownership as compared to the total population.

To gain a deeper understanding of how each minority group fares in major metropolitan areas, we analyzed the homeownership rate in top U.S. metros and compared the minority homeownership rate against the total population rate. This article will shed light on our findings and highlight some important discoveries we came across.

Main Findings

According to our study, these are the cities with the largest and smallest homeownership gaps for each minority group. The higher the percentage, the larger the homeownership gap in that city. Any group with a negative percentage has a higher homeownership rate than the total population for that area:

  • African American:
    • Largest gap: Portland, Maine (24.4%)
    • Smallest gap: Los Angeles, California (3.7%)
  • Hispanic or Latin origins:
    • Largest gap: North Port, Florida (17.7%)
    • Smallest gap: El Paso, Texas (-0.2%)
  • Asian American:
    • Largest gap: a tie between Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Youngstown, Ohio (16.9%)
    • Smallest gap: Urban Honolulu, Hawaii (-6.2%)

The Homeownership Gap in the U.S.

To study America’s homeownership gap, we collected data from the U.S. Census Bureau on 100 of the top metropolitan areas. With this data, we analyzed the homeownership gap of each minority group based on homeownership rates, population, and their total respective owner-occupied housing units. Below we’ll present our findings on the top 15 cities for each minority group and order them by homeownership gap.

The African American Homeownership Gap

MetroHomeownership rate %African American homeowner %Gap
Portland, ME31.4%7.0%24.4%
Scranton, PA28.1%5.6%22.6%
Madison, WI26.1%6.5%19.6%
De Moines, IA28.1%10.4%17.7%
Minneapolis, MI28.2%10.9%17.3%
North Port, FL32.4%15.5%16.9%
Worcester, CT26.1%9.2%16.9%
Syracuse, NY28.0%11.7%16.3%
Grand Rapids, MI28.0%11.8%16.2%
Pittsburgh, PA31.4%15.4%15.8%
Albany, NY27.6%11.9%15.7%
Salt Lake City, UT23.5%8.0%15.6%
Cape Coral, FL29.9%14.4%15.5%
Allentown, PA26.9%12.4%14.5%
Buffalo, NY28.3%15.0%14.4%
city of Portland, Maine
Portland, Maine
Image Source: Canva

The African American homeownership gap is a persistent struggle our country has been dealing with for over 100 years. Currently, by standard estimates, the homeownership gap for African Americans sits at over 30%, the highest it’s been since the 1960s. While the gap has fluctuated over the years, it has remained between 20% to 30%.

The homeownership gap faced by African Americans derives from multiple factors. Black homeowners often face unfair challenges regarding credit, mortgage rates, lending practices, and income. For example, according to a study from the American Housing Service, African Americans are more likely to have higher mortgage rates than white buyers of not only the same income level but lower income levels. African Americans are more than twice as likely to be rejected for mortgages compared to white homebuyers.

As we can see, even when measuring against the total populace, the gap for African Americans sits around 15% to 25%. The city with the largest gap in the U.S. for African Americans is Portland, Maine. Portland has an African American population of around 2.2%, with a homeownership rate of only 7.0% compared to the city homeownership rate of 30.1%, creating a gap of 24.4%. Next is Scranton, Pennsylvania (22.6%), then Madison, Wisconsin (19.6%), Des Moines, Iowa (17.7%), and Minneapolis, Minnesota (42.1%).

In the top 15 spots, we can see two major points; first, African American populations in every city are comparatively low. The national average population for African Americans in 2022 is 13.6%, and the average population on the top 15 entries is around 11%, with five spots not coming above 10%. Furthermore, the top three spots with the highest gaps also have the lowest population percentages. Conversely, the three spots with the lowest homeownership gap have the highest African American population percentages. And second, the vast majority of states on the top 15 list are all located in the Northeastern portion of the U.S., with the only exceptions being Florida and Utah.

The Hispanic American Homeownership Gap

MetroHomeownership rate %Hispanic or Latin origins homeowner %Gap
Scranton, PA28.2%9.5%18.6%
North Port, FL32.4%14.7%17.7%
Syracuse, NY28.0%10.6%17.4%
Knoxville, TN28.2%11.1%17.2%
Buffalo, NY29.3%12.3%17.0%
Akron, OH28.3%11.7%16.6%
Myrtle Beach, SC31.9%15.3%16.6%
Cincinnati, OH27.5%11.4%16.1%
Harrisburg, PA28.9%12.9%16.1%
Madison, WI26.1%10.1%16.0%
Springfield, MA25.4%9.5%15.9%
Louisville, KT27.9%12.1%15.8%
Worcester, PA26.1%10.2%15.8%
Portland, PA31.4%16.0%15.4%
Pittsburgh, PA31.1%16.2%15.0%
city of Scranton, Pennsylvania
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Image Source: Canva

The second largest minority in the U.S. is the Hispanic and Latino populations. The most populous city with the highest homeownership gap was Scranton, Pennsylvania, with a homeownership rate of only 9.5% compared to the city’s average of 28.1%. As a result, Scranton has a homeownership gap of 18.6%. Next in line is North Port, Florida (17.7%), then Syracuse, New York (17.4%), Knoxville, Tennessee (17.2%), and Buffalo, New York (17.0%).

When looking at the top 15 spots for Hispanic Americans, the first thing that jumped out was that Pennsylvania possessed the most spots at five, a third of the entire list. Similarly to African Americans, Northeastern states still hold a large share of the positions on this list, at 12 out of 15 spots. There are several factors that contribute to this, such as the rising housing costs of homes in Northeastern states. While housing costs took a sharp dip at the beginning of 2022, they’ve steadily risen over the past five years. 

We also want to point out some information beyond the top 15 states with the highest gap, specifically El Paso and McAllen, Texas. These cities have some of the lowest gaps for Hispanic Americans in the study, with El Paso having a gap of -0.2% and McAllen having a gap of 0.7%. When investigating these cities, we discovered some interesting information that sheds light on how they overcame the gap. First, they’re both cities where Hispanic and Latin Americans are the majority, with El Paso having an 81% Hispanic population and McAllen having a population of 85%. Next, both cities sit on the border with Mexico and have affordable, stable housing markets. Currently, El Paso is about 30% lower to buy and rent compared to the national average, with McAllen at 41% less than the national average.

The Asian American Homeownership Gap

MetroHomeownership rate %Asian-American homeowner %Gap
Myrtle Beach, SC31.9%15.0%16.9%
Youngstown, OH30.5%13.6%16.9%
Springfield, MA25.4%12.2%13.3%
Knoxville, TN28.2%15.8%12.4%
Buffalo, NY28.3%17.5%11.8%
Baton Rouge, LA25.8%14.5%11.3%
Pittsburgh, PA31.1%20.2%19.9%
Syracuse, NY28.0%17.3%10.6%
Omaha, NE26.5%16.1%10.4%
Albany, NY27.6%17.5%10.0%
Portland, ME31.4%21.5%9.9%
Scranton, PA28.1%18.2%9.9%
Columbia, SC27.8%18.2%9.6%
Milwaukee, WI25.3%16.1%9.1%
Tulsa, OK25.8%17.1%8.7%
city of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Image Source: Canva

For Asian Americans, the city with the highest homeownership gap goes to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, at 16.9%. After that, we have Youngstown, Ohio (16.9%), Springfield, Massachusetts (13.3%), Knoxville, Tennessee (12.4%), and Buffalo, New York (11.8%).

When looking at the total numbers for Asian Americans, they boast the lowest overall homeownership gaps of any group in the study. The city with the highest homeownership gap, Myrtle Beach, is more than 1% less than the highest for Hispanic Americans and 7% less than the highest for African Americans. Asian Americans also claim the highest number of cities with negative gaps, 13 in total. The city with the lowest gap for Asian Americans goes to Honolulu, Hawaii, at -6.2%.    

Overall, Asian Americans have some of the best rates for homeownership among minority groups at 61% as of 2022. Furthermore, homeownership for Asian Americans is on the rise as the effects of COVID-19 recede. While Asian American homeownership is rising, they still fall below white American homeownership rates at every income level. Asian Americans face multiple barriers to homeownership, such as discrimination in the home-buying process.

Full Data

Below is a table with our full data set for all 100 metros in our study.

MetroHomeownership Rate %African-American homeowners %African-American GapHispanic homeowners %Hispanic GapAsian homeowners %Asian Gap
Akron, OH28.30%14.9%13.3%11.7%16.6%22.2%6.1%
Albany, NY27.60%11.9%15.7%14.6%13.0%17.5%10.0%
Albuquerque, NM28.00%15.5%12.5%24.1%3.9%23.5%4.5%
Allentown, PA26.90%12.4%14.5%13.0%14.0%25.1%1.9%
Atlanta, GA24.80%19.7%5.1%15.4%9.4%22.8%2.0%
Austin, TX23.90%16.8%7.0%16.8%7.1%24.8%-0.9%
Bakersfield, CA18.40%10.9%7.5%13.5%4.8%19.8%-1.5%
Baltimore, MD26.60%18.4%8.2%14.7%11.8%23.9%2.7%
Baton Rouge, LA25.80%19.1%6.6%14.6%11.2%14.5%11.3%
Birmingham, AL27.60%21.5%6.1%13.8%13.7%28.1%-0.6%
Boise City, ID26.60%14.1%12.5%17.2%9.4%24.1%2.5%
Boston, MA24.40%13.0%11.4%10.1%14.3%20.1%4.3%
Bridgeport, CT24.90%15.5%9.4%13.9%11.0%20.7%4.2%
Buffalo, NY29.30%15.0%14.4%12.3%17.0%17.5%11.8%
Cape Coral, FL29.90%14.4%15.5%17.5%12.4%25.4%4.5%
Charleston, SC27.60%21.8%5.7%16.9%10.7%20.4%7.1%
Charlotte, NC25.90%19.0%6.9%13.6%12.3%22.0%3.8%
Chicago, IL25.40%17.1%8.4%16.7%8.8%23.0%2.5%
Cincinnati, OH27.50%14.6%12.9%11.4%16.1%20.5%7.0%
Cleveland, OH28.10%16.4%11.7%15.4%12.8%19.9%8.2%
Colorado Springs, CO26.00%17.9%8.1%17.6%8.4%25.4%0.6%
Columbia, SC27.80%22.2%5.5%16.6%11.2%18.2%9.6%
Columbus, OH24.50%12.2%12.3%12.5%12.0%21.2%3.4%
Dallas, TX21.90%15.1%6.8%15.4%6.5%21.0%0.9%
Dayton, OH27.40%16.6%10.7%16.2%11.2%20.0%7.4%
Deltona, FL32.00%19.0%13.0%21.4%10.6%29.4%2.6%
Denver, CO26.20%15.3%10.9%16.4%9.8%22.8%3.4%
Des Moines, IA28.10%10.4%17.7%16.3%11.8%19.8%8.3%
Detroit, MI28.80%18.7%10.1%18.8%10.0%23.5%5.3%
Durham, NC25.40%17.6%7.7%12.7%12.7%21.2%4.1%
El Paso, TX22.40%16.7%5.7%22.6%-0.2%19.8%2.6%
Fresno, CA17.80%12.0%5.7%12.5%5.3%17.3%0.4%
Grand Rapids, MI28.00%11.8%16.2%16.0%12.0%20.8%7.2%
Greensboro, NC26.20%18.7%7.5%13.5%12.6%20.1%6.1%
Greenville, SC28.50%19.3%9.2%15.4%13.1%21.3%7.3%
Harrisburg, PA28.90%15.1%13.8%12.9%16.1%23.4%5.5%
Hartford, CT27.30%16.1%11.2%13.6%13.7%19.7%7.6%
Houston, TX22.20%17.1%5.1%16.6%5.6%23.9%-1.7%
Indianapolis, IN26.50%14.8%11.7%14.4%12.1%22.3%4.2%
Jacksonville, FL26.10%19.6%6.5%17.1%9.0%25.2%1.0%
Kansas City, MO26.50%16.5%10.0%15.8%10.7%23.6%3.0%
Knoxville, TN28.20%17.3%11.0%11.1%17.2%15.8%12.4%
Lakeland, FL25.40%16.1%9.4%16.9%8.6%22.8%2.6%
Las Vegas, NV21.10%12.9%8.2%14.6%6.5%23.4%-2.2%
Little Rock, AR26.40%17.5%8.9%12.4%14.0%23.0%3.4%
Los Angeles, CA16.70%13.1%3.7%10.7%6.0%20.1%-3.4%
Louisville, KY27.90%16.1%11.8%12.1%15.8%19.6%8.3%
Madison, WI26.10%6.5%19.6%10.1%16.0%17.2%8.8%
McAllen, TX19.90%9.6%10.3%19.2%0.7%18.8%1.1%
Memphis, TN23.90%17.9%6.0%12.8%11.1%21.3%2.6%
Miami, FL23.00%16.3%6.7%19.1%3.9%25.6%-2.6%
Milwaukee, WI25.30%11.7%13.6%12.8%12.5%16.1%9.1%
Minneapolis, MN28.20%10.9%17.3%15.1%13.1%19.4%8.8%
Myrtle Beach, SC31.90%19.9%12.0%15.3%16.6%15.0%16.9%
Nashville, TN26.40%18.3%8.1%11.8%14.6%18.7%7.7%
New Haven, CT24.90%15.0%9.9%13.3%11.6%21.2%3.7%
New Orleans, LA26.20%19.2%7.0%18.4%7.9%24.4%1.8%
New York, NY19.50%12.6%6.9%9.7%9.8%19.1%0.4%
North Port, FL32.40%15.5%16.9%14.7%17.7%26.9%5.5%
Ogden, UT24.50%13.1%11.4%17.1%7.4%21.7%2.8%
Oklahoma City, OK25.10%15.3%9.7%14.2%10.9%22.1%3.0%
Omaha, NE26.50%13.0%13.5%13.7%12.8%16.1%10.4%
Orlando, FL23.30%16.9%6.4%16.5%6.8%24.0%-0.7%
Oxnard, CA21.70%15.6%6.1%12.5%9.2%24.8%-3.1%
Palm Bay, FL31.70%25.0%6.7%19.4%12.3%25.3%6.4%
Philadelphia, PA26.40%19.6%6.7%14.9%11.5%22.5%3.8%
Phoenix, AZ25.30%14.5%10.8%16.5%8.8%23.8%1.5%
Pittsburgh, PA31.10%15.4%15.8%16.2%15.0%20.2%10.9%
Port St. Lucie, FL31.50%18.3%13.2%22.7%8.8%26.1%5.3%
Portland, ME31.40%7.0%24.4%16.0%15.4%21.5%9.9%
Portland, OR24.70%13.6%11.1%13.3%11.4%23.2%1.6%
Poughkeepsie, NY26.10%17.9%8.2%18.4%7.7%21.4%4.6%
Providence, RI25.20%11.9%13.3%11.0%14.2%18.2%7.0%
Raleigh, NC25.70%18.3%7.4%13.3%12.4%22.1%3.6%
Richmond, VA26.40%19.6%6.8%14.0%12.3%23.7%2.7%
Riverside, CA20.20%15.6%4.6%15.0%5.2%23.0%-2.8%
Rochester, NY28.50%13.7%14.9%13.5%15.0%20.4%8.1%
Sacramento, CA22.70%12.3%10.4%15.1%7.6%19.5%3.2%
Salt Lake City, UT23.50%8.0%15.6%15.5%8.1%21.2%2.4%
San Antonio, TX23.10%18.7%4.5%19.3%3.8%21.9%1.2%
San Diego, CA19.20%10.8%8.5%10.6%8.6%20.7%-1.5%
San Francisco, CA20.80%13.5%7.3%11.5%9.3%21.5%-0.7%
San Jose, CA19.30%9.4%10.0%10.5%8.8%20.4%-1.1%
Scranton, PA28.10%5.6%22.6%9.5%18.6%18.2%9.9%
Seattle, WA24.10%12.0%12.1%12.5%11.7%23.3%0.8%
Spokane, WA26.30%13.6%12.7%13.1%13.2%18.3%8.0%
Springfield, MA25.40%16.8%8.7%9.5%15.9%12.2%13.3%
St. Louis, MO29.00%17.0%12.0%17.6%11.5%21.0%8.0%
Syracuse, NY28.00%11.7%16.3%10.6%17.4%17.3%10.6%
Tampa, FL27.60%16.5%11.0%19.2%8.4%22.1%5.4%
Toledo, OH27.70%15.7%12.0%15.7%12.0%27.4%0.4%
Tucson, AZ26.60%15.1%11.5%19.4%7.2%21.6%5.0%
Tulsa, OK25.80%16.0%9.8%14.9%10.9%17.1%8.7%
Honolulu, HI20.00%9.4%10.6%9.8%10.2%26.3%-6.2%
Virginia Beach, VA25.20%18.0%7.2%16.6%8.6%24.3%0.9%
Washington, DC24.20%20.3%3.9%15.0%9.2%24.3%-0.1%
Wichita, KS25.10%13.5%11.7%13.8%11.4%19.4%5.7%
Winston-Salem, NC28.20%20.4%7.8%14.5%13.7%20.6%7.6%
Worcester, MA26.10%9.2%16.9%10.2%15.8%21.3%4.8%
Youngstown, OH30.50%16.4%14.1%17.2%13.3%13.6%16.9%

Final Thoughts

Overall, our study shows that the homeownership gap in the U.S. is still, unfortunately, a reality. Most cities on this list are in Northeastern states, which can likely be attributed to the region’s steady rise in the cost of living. Pennsylvania held the most positions overall, with 10 spots among the top 45 positions, just over one-fifth. Additionally, three cities – Scranton, PA, Buffalo, NY, and Pittsburgh, PA – ranked in the top 15 for each minority group. Besides Pennsylvania, we had states like New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin, which appeared multiple times over multiple lists. We also had outliers like South Carolina and Florida, which showed up several times each.

FAQs

What Is the Importance of Homeownership?

Owning a home brings several valuable benefits to individuals. It offers security and stability, helps build wealth, allows for greater freedom and flexibility, and offers several tax benefits. The greatest benefit is the ability to build generational wealth, giving your children and grandchildren a greater potential for financial success.

Are There Disparities in the Home Appraisal Process?

Several studies show a significant racial disparity in the home appraisal process. One study by economist Freddie Mac found that 12.5% of all African American and 15.5% of Hispanic communities received appraisals below the agreed-upon price of the buyers and sellers. This number is almost twice as many white communities, only 7.5% of which received lower than standard appraisals. 

Has COVID-19 Had Any Effects on Homeownership Numbers?

The onset of COVID-19 and the following quarantine greatly affected the housing market. Houses grew in demand as certain demographics fled metropolitan areas for more rural locales, homes were being produced more slowly due to weaknesses in supply chains, and job loss affected people’s ability to apply for mortgages.

Methodology

To find the homeownership gap for the top metro areas in the U.S., we analyzed owner/renter characteristics from the U.S. Census Bureau and ranked the cities with the highest minority ownership. The homeownership gap is calculated by a city’s total homeownership percentage subtracted from the homeownership rate for each minority group. All data is compiled from 2021 estimates.

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