African American Families Could Afford Just 25 Percent of Homes for Sale

Just 25 percent of homes for sale in 2018 were affordable to the median African American household, down from 39 percent in 2012, according to a new report by Redfin. Also in 2018, at least half the homes in any metro areas were unaffordable to typical African American families. Six years earlier, there were only 13 metro areas where that was true.

In San Francisco, less than 1 percent of homes for sale in San Francisco in 2018 were affordable to African American families, said the report. 

The most affordable metro areas for African American families are in the South. Memphis, Tennessee comes closest to having half the homes affordable, clocking in at 48.7 percent last year. For comparison, the median white family in Memphis could afford 80.4 percent of homes for sale last year. The next-most affordable metros for African American families were Atlanta (42.2%) and San Antonio (41.1%). All of the least affordable metro areas for African American families were in California. San Jose (0.3% of homes affordable), San Francisco (0.4%), San Diego (1.2%), and Los Angeles (1.3%) made up the bottom of the list.

“As prices rise, minorities can get squeezed out of a neighborhood,” said Maryland Redfin market manager Jason Allen. “For a lot of people, homeownership is their main vehicle for building long-term wealth. Many African American families who can only afford to buy homes in communities with fewer amenities, lower-rated schools, and long commutes, end up sacrificing not only long-term appreciation, but also access to better job opportunities for themselves and better educational opportunities for their children.”

Although incomes have been rising for African American families, those gains have been outpaced by increases in home prices (up 70% nationally from 2012 to 2018) and mortgage rates (up from an average of 3.66% in 2012 to 4.54% in 2018), reducing overall home affordability in every major metro area.

Metro AreaAfrican American HouseholdsWhite Households
Percent of
Percent of
Change, 2012
to 2018
Percent of
Percent of
2012 to 2018
Memphis, TN48.7%59.9%-11.180.4%88.3%-7.9
Atlanta, GA42.2%59.2%-1769.3%79.9%-10.6
San Antonio, TX41.1%62.7%-21.762.1%75.1%-13
Columbus, OH40.8%54%-13.277.7%83.3%-5.6
Louisville, KY40.1%44.5%-4.570.2%79%-8.8
Indianapolis, IN39.6%56.1%-16.578.2%86.4%-8.3
Detroit, MI39.4%54.7%-15.373.4%84.1%-10.6
Cleveland, OH39.4%45.8%-6.580.9%85.5%-4.6
Houston, TX39%58%-1965.7%79.2%-13.4
Cincinnati, OH37.5%38.8%-1.377.5%85%-7.6
Raleigh, NC36.8%43.4%-6.572.8%77.5%-4.7
Pittsburgh, PA36.6%47.1%-10.575.5%78.9%-3.4
St. Louis, MO36.4%48.5%-12.180.5%88.1%-7.6
Richmond, VA36.3%47.2%-10.975.5%80.5%-4.9
Buffalo, NY36%40.3%-4.380.4%88.2%-7.7
Baltimore, MD34.9%36.1%-1.174.5%74.4%0.1
Washington, D.C.34.8%37%-2.268.5%70.6%-2.1
Charlotte, NC34.1%43.4%-9.465%75.7%-10.7
Kansas City, MO33%51.4%-18.475.4%85.4%-10
Philadelphia, PA32.4%37.3%-4.974.1%78.4%-4.4
Oklahoma City, OK32.4%47.8%-15.475.2%84.4%-9.3
Tampa, FL31.5%51.6%-20.156.6%73.3%-16.7
Birmingham, AL30.7%44.4%-13.770.9%80%-9.1
Dallas, TX30.4%53.4%-2366%77%-11
Jacksonville, FL28.9%34.8%-5.964.9%69.7%-4.8
Austin, TX28.2%43.4%-15.263.3%67.3%-4
Orlando, FL24.9%57.7%-32.856.1%76.8%-20.7
Miami, FL23.6%35.6%-1241.2%51.1%-9.9
Nashville, TN23.3%46.3%-2351.9%73.9%-22
Phoenix, AZ22.9%50.9%-27.957.8%69%-11.2
Chicago, IL22.1%30.8%-8.766.8%69.5%-2.7
New Orleans, LA16.5%31.6%-15.164.6%75.4%-10.9
Minneapolis, MN15.6%19.8%-4.273.9%79.5%-5.7
Las Vegas, NV14.7%61.2%-46.653%76.1%-23.1
Riverside, CA14.4%44.7%-30.431.1%58.7%-27.5
New York, NY13.4%22.7%-9.344.7%56.8%-12.2
Providence, RI11.7%27.1%-15.556.7%59%-2.3
Boston, MA9.1%13.7%-4.744.5%56.3%-11.8
Denver, CO8.5%21.9%-13.342.2%62.6%-20.5
Sacramento, CA6%30.6%-24.635%65.2%-30.3
Seattle, WA5.6%15%-9.435.6%51.5%-15.9
Portland, OR2%11.6%-9.634.2%56.4%-22.2
Los Angeles, CA1.3%9.1%-7.812.2%28.1%-15.9
San Diego, CA1.2%14.2%-1312.8%28.1%-15.3
San Francisco, CA0.4%7.5%-720%31.2%-11.2
San Jose, CA0.3%9.6%-9.36.6%22.7%-16.1
Combined Metro25.3%38.6%-13.357.5%69.10%-11.7