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Investors weren’t the only ones who enjoyed the stock market windfall last year. The strong economy, coupled with low interest rates and innovative mortgage financing packages, have led to a home ownership boon among African Americans over the last several years.
According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, although minorities accounted for 17% (African Americans nearly 15%) of the 4 million new homebuyers between 1994 and 1997, minorities experienced the greatest level of growth in home ownership (42%) since the early 1970s.
A Fannie Mae Foundation survey, African American and Hispanic Attitudes on Home ownership: 1998, found that both African Americans (67%) and Hispanics (65%) place a high priority on home ownership. The report also revealed that 43% of blacks (compared with 51% of Americans overall) are confident that their income and credit rating would help them qualify for a mortgage. And while 40% of blacks still feel they suffer mortgage-lending discrimination, this is down from 59% in 1993.
The Joint Center also found that financial institutions across the nation are creating more flexible loan programs for low- and moderate-income home buyers. It’s uncertain how long this alignment of the economic stars will last, especially if there’s a downturn in the market. But at least significantly more minorities will be riding out the storm from the comfort of their new homes.