Data exposes racial inequities in Bay Area housing market

Nearly half of Black and Latino families own homes in Bay Area compared to white and Asian families, according to data.

Friday, July 16, 2021
Data exposes racial inequities in Bay Area housing market
Homeownership and loan approvals in the Bay Area are disproportionately favoring white families over Black and Latino families, according to data.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Boris Quinonez, a resident of San Francisco, moved to the city more than 30 years ago. Around 2010 he tried purchasing a single-family home in the city's Mission District but was denied by his lender at least three times.

Property records show the house eventually sold -- to Bill, his best friend.

He and Bill had the same job, same down payment, very similar credit score and they lived in the same neighborhood.

"He's a gardener," he said. "I did just the same job as he did. He got his savings. I got my savings."

The only difference between the two was race.

"He was white and I wasn't," Quinonez said. "Everything else was the same."

LEARN MORE: Explore the Equity Report

RELATED: West Oakland family beats low appraisal by $70,000 after help from ABC7 News

ABC7's data analysis found in his zip code 94110, San Francisco's Mission District and the heart of the city's Latino Cultural District, less than half of Latino families actually own their homes compared to white families. That same trend is seen across the Bay Area for both Latino and Black households.

The ABC7 I-Team analyzed Census Bureau and federal housing records comparing demographics in every Bay Area county. Overall, combining both San Francisco and San Jose metro areas, 62 percent of white households own their home. For Black households, it's almost half of that amount at 33 percent. Around 40 percent of Latino households and about 60 percent of Asian households own their home.

Bay Area homeownership per zip code

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"The problem of homeownership for all Californians has gotten worse, but especially for people of color," said Dan Dunmoyer, the President and CEO of the California Building Industry Association.

Homeownership for Black families in the Bay Area and across parts of California is at a lower level than in the 1960's during the Civil Rights Movement, according to Dunmoyer.

RELATED: Black East Oakland homeowner beats system after lowballed $155K in appraisal

"That's at a time where sadly in our history, we allowed in our governance and deeds to exclude people of color as a nation and a state. The state of California allowed that," Dunmoyer said. "That should have been our low point in our history as a country."

Loan approval rates also disproportionately favor white individuals. According to data from the 2018 and 2019 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, 70 percent of white families were approved for home loans in the San Francisco Metro Area. Only 59 percent of home loans were approved for Black families.

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"It's discouraging," said Manisha Jones, a single mother.

Jones, an aspiring therapist, has always dreamed of owning a home in the Bay Area but could never afford the down payment. Now, she rents in a subsidized housing development in San Francisco.

Unable to buy a home, she worries she might have to leave the area.

"My fear is once I do start working I won't be able to live in subsidized housing," Jones said. "I will have to move out, because I can't afford where I'm from anymore."

Multiple groups state-wide are working toward solutions that could alleviate the current housing situation.

VIDEO: Black California couple lowballed by $500K in home appraisal, believe race was a factor

The Austin family sunk $400,000 into renovating their home, but were stunned when they barely gained any value during the appraisal process. When they had a white woman pose as the homeowner, that all changed.

The California Finance Housing Agency, an independent state agency within the California Department of Housing and Community Development, is one of those groups. Earlier this year it launched a campaign called Building Black Wealth to address the homeownership gap.

Ashley Garner, the Community Outreach Coordinator for the agency, currently leads the initiative. It focuses on education and outreach to combat the gap.

"When we did research, it actually showed that the reason Black home buyers were getting denied was due to lack of credit, education, and their (debt-to-income ratio)... having that support that's needed is crucial to reaching the goal of homeownership for this community," she said.

Micah Weinberg is CEO of California Forward, a non-profit that focuses on economic policy and reform. He said the way to fix the homeownership gap is through building more affordable housing.

"There's no amount of money that can address racial inequity in the absence of substantially more homes... you can't subsidize people's access to something that doesn't exist."

VIDEO: Bay Area Black, Latina real estate couple lowballed $250K in home appraisal

After seeing the story of a Marin City couple lowballed in what they believe was a racially biased appraisal. The Curtis family knew something wasn't right when they also received a low appraisal because both the husband and wife work in real estate.

One of the company's priority actions for 2021 is supporting legislation that allows for commercially zoned sites to be redeveloped for housing.

Currently, Quinonez's dream of owning his own home is still out of reach.

"I just wish...we were all given equal opportunities to find a place to live," he said.