Gap Between African-Americans and Whites Widens in Real Estate and Credit Scores

July 17, 2012 / Russell Legato, Residential Property Analyst

There has always been some discrepancy between African-Americans and whites when it comes to home ownership & credit scores, with whites having the narrower gap between them. In this aftermath of the housing crisis, that gap has widened among whites, but to a lesser extent than for blacks. It is like a narrow passage in Wisconsin Dells compared to the Grand Canyon, with the Dells representing the gap among whites and the Grand Canyon representing the gap among blacks.

Gap Between African-Americans and Whites Widens in Real Estate and Credit Scores

Foreclosures were twice as prevalent among African-American homeowners as they were among white homeowners. Many blame the banks for propelling the start of the housing bust by approving mortgages with a balloon payment at the end. An experienced banker could predict what would happen. Those bankers went ahead with the mortgage approvals disregarding the facts. Loan officers coaxed more blacks than whites into sub-prime loans. The effect of that radical difference is going to continue hurting them for far longer than a few years. The disparity between the two groups will only be widened in regards to home ownership as they will find it difficult to get mortgages as easily as whites on average. The home ownership gap and the credit score gap are thought to have been made worse by the housing crisis.

It is a difficult enough situation for whites and worse for blacks. Back in 2003 prime credit scores were reportedly attributed to only 25 percent of blacks. Whites fared much better with 65 percent having prime scores. Banks reportedly gave bad loans (subprime loans) to blacks who undeniably qualified for prime rate mortgages. This discriminatory lending could be likened to a covert form of racism. It was inexcusable not only for what it did to the mortgagees, but for what it did to the country.

Another result will be that they cannot be found eligible to take out a mortgage loan. It might spoil their chances for decades. It could take that long for the country in general to overcome. Unemployment figures in to the credit score gap as it too is higher for blacks than whites. Unemployment status is not conducive to a good credit score. The rate of unemployment is now at 8.2 percent, with it rising to 14.4 percent for blacks.

Although unemployment rates for African-Americans have traditionally been higher, there were only rare instances in which it rose to more than 10 percent in the last fifty years.

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