Economic Snapshot | Race and Ethnicity

Home Values Have Seen Starkly Disparate Recoveries by Race

Though it is widely believed that home values have stabilized in most areas during the recovery, a recent report by the Federal Reserve found that between 2010 and 2013, the inflation-adjusted median home value for all homeowners declined 7 percent. Even more startling, however, is how unevenly home values have recovered by race of the homeowner.

This 7 percent decline in the inflation-adjusted median home value breaks out into a 4 percent decline for both non-Hispanic whites and nonwhites (including Hispanics). But public data from the Survey of Consumer Finances—which provide more detailed race categories—show even starker differences among racial and ethnic groups. Between 2010 and 2013, inflation-adjusted median home values fell by 4.6 percent for white households and 18.4 percent for African American households, but increased by 3.7 percent for Hispanic households. Since respondents reported their highest home values in the 2007 survey, the median value reported by whites has declined 20.3 percent, compared to 37.7 percent for African Americans and 25.8 percent for Latinos.

Economic Snapshot

Housing recovery continues at uneven pace: Percent Change in Median Home Values by Race & Ethnicity, 2007-2013

White Black Hispanic
2004-2007 10.4% 30.1% 29.0%
2007-2010 -16.5% -23.6% -28.4%
2010-2013 -4.6% -18.4% 3.7%
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Note: Median homes values are conditional on homeownership.

Source: Author’s analysis of publicly available Survey of Consumer Finances data

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The sharp difference between African Americans and Hispanics is a departure from prior years when changes in home values and homeownership rates for the two groups moved together. While African Americans and Hispanics reported the same homeownership rate (44 percent) in 2013, the difference in home values could be related to geographic variation in the timing of the housing recovery. According to the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite home price index, between 2010 and 2013 the largest increase in home values occurred in cities in the western region of the United States, where Latinos make up a larger share of the population. Southern and Midwestern cities, where African Americans are a larger share of the population, have seen less appreciation in home values over this period.

See related work on Race and Ethnicity | Wages, Incomes, and Wealth

See more work by Valerie Wilson