In the U.S., homeownership is not only viewed as a rite of passage for adulthood but also an important step for building wealth. This is, in part, because homeowners can borrow against their home’s value to boost their lifetime earnings and capital gains. Yet throughout the 20th century, many Black Americans were excluded from homeownership because of discriminatory policies and practices, impacting their ability to build long-term wealth. And for those who were able to purchase a home, holding on to it has often proved just as difficult.

The brief's main findings include:

  • Homeownership is relatively more expensive for Black homeowners in Philadelphia than it is for White homeowners, largely because of long-standing inequalities in income and employment.
  • Black homeowners, who are generally more vulnerable to economic downturns, were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Both short- and long-term support will be necessary to make homeownership more sustainable for Black Philadelphians.