It’s no secret that homeownership is a struggle for Black Americans, who are the only racial demographic to have homeownership rates decline between 2010-2020, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Discrimination and racism in the banking industry make it hard for Black Americans to get a home loan, especially for those with credit issues.
Afrotech reports Bernice King, the youngest child of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Ashley Bell are changing the mortgage loan industry with their Fintech platform, Ready Life, which offers a path to homeownership that excludes credit scores from eligibility requirements.
“It goes back to the National Black Bank Foundation and our work to support Black-owned financial institutions. I think it’s just been a running conversation with Bernice and me about, ‘How can we do more?’” Bell told Afrotech. “And I think her legacy as an individual leader in our city and around our country and world, focusing on the least, the last and the left behind has really empowered her to really step into this space. So, I’ve just been fortunate to have her leadership and friendship.”
Ready Life will use blockchain technology to support families looking to purchase their first home, no matter the racial demographic. Additionally, the platform will educate its users on the process of homeownership.
Homeownership is still the most tried and true way to develop wealth in America. Buying a home provides a family with stability, allows them to build equity, and increases net worth. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a housing boom as Americans relocated from city areas to rural ones and vice versa. Home prices have increased significantly as a result.
Ready Life is working to put first-time homebuyers in a home at younger ages. According to Self, the average age of a first-time homebuyer in the U.S. is 33 However, according to the NAR, the average age for a Black first-time homebuyer is 48 and 51% of Black homebuyers are purchasing a home for the first time. King told Afrotech that her parents bought their first home when her father was 36.
King and Bell believe Ready Life is a platform that can change home- buying for Black men and women, as well as other minorities, and put them on a path to purchasing a home at an earlier age and thus creating wealth for younger ages and ethnicities.