Are minority homeowners faring better than we think?

There’s no doubt many Minnesota homeowners of color have been battered in this recession. The foreclosure crisis has crippled many neighborhoods. We were riveted by the emotional eviction of Rosemary Williams from her Minneapolis home.

But amid the pain is there something positive happening we haven’t seen? I started wondering about that after seeing some data showing minority home ownership rates holding surprisingly steady during 2008.

Click on the graph below to see the rates of ownership since 2000. The numbers were part of a presentation this week by Michael Grover, of the Minneapolis Fed as part of the Minnesota Home Ownership Center’s Annual Emerging Markets Summit.

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“Emerging markets” is a collective description for people of color. We asked Grover what he thought:

I think the biggest take away for me, especially for the Census data for 2008, was that there was no decline in the total number of or ownership rate for emerging market homeowners between 2007 and 2008 — given the housing market we currently are in, the recent performance of mortgages, and the fact that the rate for Whites (who are not Hispanic or Latino) went down by .8%.

What’s going on? Is it possible that people of color who are buying homes are offsetting many of the home losses we’re seeing in the foreclosure data, so that the home ownership rates are staying relatively stable?

Grover says he hasn’t had time to analyze the data enough to draw conclusions. He plans to examine it deeper.

It definitely needs more exploration. It’s the seed of something interesting.

I was especially intrigued by the growth in ownership rates since 2000 among Asian and Latino people.

Of course, there’s plenty of other data to show things are not good and the gap between white and minority ownership is among the highest of any state in the country. And Minnesota is nowhere near the end of the mortgage crisis. Still, it’s worth keeping an eye on who’s doing the home buying this year and next.

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