The Importance of Equitable Access to Homeownership

Bill Gray June 27, 2019

This week on the Welcome Home blog, we look at homeownership as a wealth builder.

You’ve heard it before from us – homeownership builds wealth. That’s why equitable access to sustainable homeownership is so important. When you own your home, you are investing in yourself rather than someone else. Every dollar you pay toward reducing the amount you borrow in a mortgage is retained by you in the form of equity. As an added and potentially significant bonus, houses generally increase in value over time, and this increase accrues to the owner – you! On the other side of the coin, when you rent, every dollar you pay each month is exchanged for living in the rented unit for that month. As a renter, you retain nothing.

Homeownership and the wealth it builds can change the trajectory of a family for generations to come. That’s why the Minnesota Homeownership Center stresses the importance of equitable access to ownership. The shameful fact is, access to ownership was historically inequitable – whole segments of our country’s citizens were literally barred from homeownership for decades via racism, both systemic and overt. That put these households at a huge disadvantage as they missed out on decades of potential wealth building – a disadvantage that still presents a stark contract today. Here in Minnesota, we have one of the highest racial gaps in homeownership in the country. In 2017, nearly 77 percent of white (non-Hispanic) households owned their own home, compared to just 41 percent of households of color. The ownership figure for black households in Minnesota in 2017 was just 24 percent. This difference is a big driver of continued inequity in all corners of our society. We need to do all we can to reduce this gap if we truly want to make progress toward a more equitable society.

For the Minnesota Homeownership Center, equitable access to sustainable homeownership means working proactively to meet people where they are and helping them to help themselves. Toward this end, the Center partners with community-based nonprofits across the state to communicate the benefits of ownership, educate around the complicated process of home buying, and provide individualized consultation and concrete steps to take to achieve sustainable ownership. If a person aspires to ownership, we can create a roadmap to successfully achieve it and sustain it for years to come.

For more information on mapping your own journey to sustainable ownership, find a nonprofit homeownership advisor near you.

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