DiNapoli: NY’s Home Ownership Lowest in the Nation

New York state has the lowest homeownership rate in the nation, driven by low rates in New York City, according to a report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Only 53.6% of New York households owned a home in the second quarter of 2022, compared to 65.8% nationally. New York also has a racial and ethnic disparity that is greater than in the rest of the country.

In 2021, 67% of white households in New York City owned their homes, compared to 52% of Asian households, 34% of Black households and 29% of Hispanic households. The home ownership gap is highest for Hispanics in New York, and 16% higher than the national Hispanic gap compared to white households.

“Owning a house is the ‘American Dream,’ but for too many New Yorkers, that dream has been unattainable,” DiNapoli said. “The low ownership rate for black, Asian and Hispanic New Yorkers is especially troubling. Housing and mortgage discrimination have prevented generations of New Yorkers from taking advantage of the economic benefits of homeownership. Reducing inequality in real estate practices and encouraging home ownership are key priorities for maintaining New York’s competitiveness as a place where everyone has equal opportunity.”

Total homeownership in New York has been lagging behind the nation since 2005, with a state-nation gap of as much as 14%. During this time, the state’s rate went from a high of 56.6% in the first quarter of 2005 to a low of 50.2% in the second quarter of 2018. New York’s rate has grown steadily since then, including a pandemic-induced increase from 53% in Q1 2020 to 54.4% in Q2 2020. Only California and Nevada had less than 60% home ownership in 2021.

One of the reasons why New York’s homeownership rates are generally low and below the national average for Hispanic, Black, and Asian households is the concentration of these households in New York City, which consists primarily of multi-family homes. Home ownership rates are higher than the state average in all other counties, where single-family homes make up the bulk of the housing stock.

Home ownership can provide economic benefits and serves as a means of building wealth as home prices rise and equity grows over time. In 2020, the median net worth of US household assets was largest for real estate assets and the median net worth of homeowners was $336,600, compared to just over $5,700 for renters.

The Biden administration announced a series of initiatives to eliminate discriminatory practices and promote home ownership, including $100 million in new funding for states to support sustainable home ownership. In addition, New York City has announced new initiatives to improve its understanding of home ownership and make supporting affordable home ownership a goal of its housing blueprint.

The DiNapoli report also suggested ways the state can take action to facilitate home ownership and address racial and ethnic home ownership gaps:

  • First, it can ensure that the availability of home buying assistance through the State of New York Mortgage Agency is widely known.
  • Second, improved reporting on available homeowner assistance programs is needed to understand who benefits from these programs, identify underserved populations, and identify limitations that could lead to disadvantaged borrowers being excluded from programs; policy makers should consider re-equipping or reconfiguring some of these services to ensure wider availability.
  • Third, efforts should be made to strengthen the monitoring and enforcement of discriminatory practices in the housing sector, including mortgage financing, appraisals and other services, to ensure that illegal, systemic barriers do not persist.
  • Finally, the state can redouble its efforts to educate potential homebuyers about homeownership values. As shown by DiNapoli’s recent audit, government agencies need to improve their financial literacy programs, particularly by extending consumer reach.

Homeownership rates in New York

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