Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Homeownership
34 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2018 Last revised: 22 Aug 2018
Date Written: January 1, 1992
There are persistent differences in homeownership rates across racial and ethnic groups. Homeownership rates for whites are over 20 percentage points higher than for blacks or Hispanics. This paper uses a model of the housing tenure decision to gain a better understanding of these racial and ethnic differentials in homeownership and employs a decomposition technique that has been applied to labor market discrimination to report the results of the empirical testing of two hypotheses; (1) race (ethnicity) influences the probability of ownership through differences in household endowments (income, education, age, gender, and family type) and market endowments (price and location); and (2) race (ethnicity) directly influences the probability of ownership through racial or ethnic discrimination and other factors that may be correlated with race or ethnicity. We find endowment effects important in explaining the persistent racial and ethnic disparities in homeownership. In brief, logit analysis of 1989 American Housing Survey (AHS) national sample data reveals that 81 percent (78 percent) of the differences between the predicted probability of ownership between black and white households (Hispanic/non-Hispanic) are due to differences in group endowments. Direct effects explain 19 percent of the black-white differentials and 22 percent of the Hispanic/non-Hispanic differentials. Because the direct effects are modeled as residual differences, it must be realized that the residual components could also be capturing the influence of important omitted or harder to measure variables internal to the market process and correlated with race or ethnicity. These include wealth, household location, employment history, credit history, and cultural predisposition toward homeownership.
Keywords: Homeownership, Race, Ethnicity
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