Only 48.8% of homeowners in the District of Columbia are African American. (WI file photo)
**FILE** Only 48.8% of homeowners in the District of Columbia are African American. (WI file photo)

The National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) is guardedly optimistic regarding the current upward trend of the Black homeownership rate of 44% as stated by the U.S. Census Bureau in its fourth quarter 2019 report.

The reported rate represents a second straight increase from the third quarter rate of 42.9% and an uncharacteristic jump from the second quarter 2019 Black homeownership rate of 40.6%. While we remain positive about the upward trend, NAREB is mindful that a nearly 30 percentage point gap separates the current non-Hispanic White homeownership of 73.7% from the Black homeownership rate of 44%.

As stated in a previous look at the third quarter rates, brisk seasonal sales could account for the increased Black homeownership rate. However, these back-to-back quarterly increases into the fourth quarter indicate to us that Black Americans are purchasing homes at a higher, more consistent rate.

The nation’s economic vibrancy, lower unemployment levels, a restored confidence in purchasing real estate and low interest rates, coupled with an increasingly more-informed Black consumer can all be factored into the six months of rate increases. NAREB’s belief in our boots-on-the-ground approach will continue to support and contribute to the upswing in Black homeownership.

It is important to note that the last time the Black homeownership rate neared the fourth quarter 2019 level was in the fourth quarter of 2012, when the U.S. Census reported a 44.5% rate that ticked consistently downward until the third quarter of 2019.

NAREB remains mindful of the volatility of the real estate marketplace, but trusts that Black consumers, coupled with our concerted efforts to educate and inform Black home buyers about the wealth-building benefits of owning a home, will continue to boost Black homeownership and economic futures.

Williams is president of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers.

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This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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