The National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) launched a Building Black Wealth Tour to give Black families and individuals the information they need to purchase homes, make wise investments, and engage in other activities to increase their wealth.
Working with the African American Mayors Association and the National Bar Association, the Building Black Wealth Tour will visit more than 60 cities over the next two years as the collaboration organizes classes, workshops, and one-on-one counseling to advise families on homebuying, investing, and careers in real estate.
“We believe the time for action on Black Wealth is now,” said Dr. Courtney Johnson Rose, NAREB’s president. “NAREB is urging our Black communities to take the journey towards wealth. Come to our events in your city and learn what you need to purchase a home. We are helping Black families overcome the biased public policies and private practices that created the vast wealth gap in America today.”
Asserting that the situation is “intolerable,” Dr. Rose said that, on average, Black families own about 24 cents for every $1 of White family wealth, according to the Federal Reserve. Homeownership, a critical component of Black wealth, has declined for Blacks nearly every quarter since the pandemic, leaving Blacks with the lowest homeownership percentage of any demographic in America.
Despite the contributions of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, 55 years later, the racial homeownership gap has widened. In 1960, 38% of Blacks owned homes, while White homeownership was 65%, a 27-point gap. In 2022, the rate of homeownership among Whites was 74.4% compared to 45% for Blacks, a spread of 29.4% and the most extensive gap since 1890!
Homeownership is the driver of wealth, especially for Blacks. The equity from owning a home can be used to start a business, pay for a college education, and comfortably retire. It is the centerpiece of family economic security.
The first Building Black Wealth Tour event was in Houston on Saturday, October 7. It was a rousing success, with hundreds of participants. Each event includes festive youth activities and aims to empower Black communities with steps towards homeownership, property investment, starting a business, and other wealth-building opportunities. Further, a workshop addressed family-owned land jointly owned by descendants of a deceased person whose estate did not clear probate. The descendants, or heirs, have the right to use the property, but they do not have a clear or marketable title since the estate issues are unresolved. This has become a critical issue nationwide. Thus, the Black Wealth Tour educates Black consumers on properly passing along real estate and protecting themselves and the community from gentrification.
The NAREB State of Housing in Black America (SHIBA) report found more than two million mortgage-ready Black Americans across the country. These families and individuals have the credit and income to qualify for a home mortgage. NAREB plans to find them. Over the next two years, NAREB will sponsor events nationwide, including Birmingham on 11/11/23, Charlotte on 3/2/24, Mt. Vernon on 4/13/24, Little Rock on 6/8/24, New Orleans on 8/3/24, Atlanta on 11/9/24, Miramar, Florida on 3/25, Beverly Hills, MO on 6/25 and Los Angeles on 8/25.
“We will go into these communities, locate these families and individuals, educate them, and inspire them to build wealth,” said Dr. Rose. “Systematic racism has plagued our communities and impeded our ability to gain wealth, but we can overcome these challenges. In addition to Black lawyers and mayors, we are working with Black fraternities and sororities to help locate people who can be put on a path toward intergenerational wealth.”
The disparity in wealth emanates from centuries of racist public policies and private practices, including from the middle of the 20th century.
After World War II, government policies led to the most significant expansion of the American middle class in history. The GI Bill provided veterans with free college education and inexpensive home loans. However, Black veterans were rarely able to take advantage of these policies because of the discriminatory way they were administered. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) wouldn’t insure home purchases in Black neighborhoods, and Blacks faced hostility if they tried to move into a White suburb.
The impact lingers today. Unlike many White families, Blacks didn’t usually have intergenerational wealth flowing from generation to generation.
But Dr. Rose said: “Our goal is to end wealth disparities and help Black families and communities thrive.”