Report: Black Homeownership for 25-35-Year-Olds Has Fallen by More than 50%

Tanu Henry, Antonio Ray Harvey and Joe W. Bowers Jr. | California Black Media

A report released last week by the California Community Builders Association (CBCA) presented a grim picture of homeownership for middle-income Black Californians and other minorities. The report, titled California’s Missing Middle,” revealed that the rate of homeownership for Black Californians ages 25 through 35 dropped by more than half — from 50% to 23% over a four-decade period, beginning in 1980 through 2021.

During that same period, the rate of homeownership for Latinos also fell significantly — by 22 percentage points, from 52% to 30%.

According to CBCA, the study is based on Census data. It focuses on middle-income Californians because there are rapid shifts happening among that demographic and that sub-group gets the least attention in conversations about homelessness and housing affordability.

“Middle-income California is shrinking, and the drop is all in the lower-middle-income group, from 6.7 million in 2000 to 4.3 million in 2019, a staggering 35% drop,” reads a CBCA press release.

Middle-income Californians also receive the least amount of government-funded subsidies aimed at making housing more affordable in the state.

“We have no idea whether these people left the state or changed income brackets. In fact, we know little about the demographics and housing challenges of this group, but the “shrinking middle class” looks real. Knowledge gaps create policy gaps, and we have both,” the CBCA press release continued.

Among key findings in the study are nearly 60% of middle-income Californians are people of color and California housing prices have increased eight times as much as California incomes.

The report recommends that the state create a housing policy that considers the needs of middle-income Californians. The majority of them, according to CCBA, earn too little money to compete in the housing market, yet their income is too high to qualify for income-based subsidies.

“Today, the needs of low-income families are often the primary source of discussion when it comes to housing policy and housing subsidy,” the report reads. “CCB agrees with this perspective and believes low-income families need far greater support than they receive today, but we also believe that the 17 million middle-income Californians also need care and attention, as our current housing market regularly fails them.”

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