Moving on up!

Robust economy creates a surge in minority home buying

Investors weren’t the only ones who enjoyed the stock market windfall last year. The strong economy, coupled with low interest rates and innovative mortgage financing packages, have led to a home ownership boon among African Americans over the last several years.

According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, although minorities accounted for 17% (African Americans nearly 15%) of the 4 million new homebuyers between 1994 and 1997, minorities experienced the greatest level of growth in home ownership (42%) since the early 1970s.
A Fannie Mae Foundation survey, African American and Hispanic Attitudes on Home ownership: 1998, found that both African Americans (67%) and Hispanics (65%) place a high priority on home ownership. The report also revealed that 43% of blacks (compared with 51% of Americans overall) are confident that their income and credit rating would help them qualify for a mortgage. And while 40% of blacks still feel they suffer mortgage-lending discrimination, this is down from 59% in 1993.

The Joint Center also found that financial institutions across the nation are creating more flexible loan programs for low- and moderate-income home buyers. It’s uncertain how long this alignment of the economic stars will last, especially if there’s a downturn in the market. But at least significantly more minorities will be riding out the storm from the comfort of their new homes.

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