Report: Sharp racial gap exists between Bay Area homeowners

The racial gap in home ownership persists, even in the racially diverse Bay Area, according to a new report.

Look at these numbers:

In the San Jose metropolitan area, the homeownership rate is 56.3 percent for Asian households and 50.9 percent for white households, compared to 34.2 percent for black households and 28.8 percent for Hispanic households.

In the San Francisco metropolitan area — defined here to include Oakland and the East Bay as a whole — the rate is 54.7 percent for Asian households, 47.4 percent for white households, 21.7 percent for black households and 31.2 percent for Hispanic households.

The racial gap in homeownership “underscores the increasing inequality that plagues the United States,” according to a report from the ApartmentList.com website. Titled “The Racial Divide in Home Ownership,” it notes that the renter population in the U.S. continues to grow — and that an “outsized share” of renter households are occupied by minorities. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that the majority of Americans will belong to minority groups by 2044.

The report is based on U.S. Census data from 1980 to 2015 for households headed by adults between the ages of 25 and 54.

It elaborates on the heavily racialized profiles of the nation’s homeowner and renter populations: “By building equity, homeowners accumulate wealth, leading to the striking fact that the net worth of the average homeowner is 36 times more than that of the average renter. This makes it all the more troubling that minorities are less likely to own homes, particularly as their share of the population grows.”

Nationally, every minority is at a “double-digit disadvantage in achieving home ownership when compared to white households” — even though the rate of white ownership has dipped 5.9 percent since 1980.

These are the national numbers: 64.4 percent of white households are homeowners, compared to 54 percent of Asian households, 41.1 percent of Hispanic households and 32.7 percent of black households.

The San Francisco metro is the nation’s most racially diverse and the San Jose metro is the nation’s fifth most diverse, according to the report.

But while minority ownership rates tend to be higher in diverse areas, the racial gap in ownership still is in the double digits.

The average ownership gap between races stands at 16.8 percent in San Jose (the seventh smallest gap among the nation’s 50 largest metros) and 19.8 percent in San Francisco (the 19th smallest gap among the 50 metros).

ApartmentList.com defines the average ownership gap as the difference between the highest homeownership rate for any race and the average of the ownership rates for the remaining races.

The report points to other harsh disparities. For instance, the black homeownership rate “for those who did not graduate high school is just 15.3 percent, while the rate for whites with that same education level is nearly three times as high, at 44.9 percent.”

When the data is broken down by income, black and Hispanic households are again at a “particular disadvantage. For example, white households earning less than $25,000 annually have a homeownership rate that is 2.4 times higher than the rate for blacks in that income bracket.”

You can read the report here.

This chart shows the 10 metros with the smallest homeownership gaps, with San Jose in the seventh position: