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New Report Shows Saving for Mortgage Down Payment is a Substantial Barrier to Homeownership that Particularly Hits Communities of Color and Essential Workers

Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Christelle Bamona
Nikitra Bailey

Data reflects dire need for down payment assistance and student debt relief that would help support path to homeownership

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) released a new report “Hardship for Renters: Too Many Years to Save for Mortgage Down Payment and Closing Costs.” The report calculates how long it would take for a typical renter household to save for a mortgage down payment and closing costs for a median-priced house and how this varies by race/ethnicity, household type, location, and occupation. For instance, the report data show that the typical white renter household can get on the homeownership path five years earlier than the typical Black renter household. For additional highlights of the report see below and click here for the report.

CRL Researcher and report author Christelle Bamona said, “There is a huge disconnect between our collective view of America as the land of opportunity and this data, which show renters face a steep climb in saving for homeownership. This climb is especially steep for Black and Latino Americans, essential workers, and people weighed down by student debt.”

CRL Executive Vice President Nikitra Bailey said, “Homeownership is a key driver of wealth-building, but buying a home also requires wealth, which usually is tied to previous generational homeownership opportunities. This is a Catch-22 for Black and Latino communities, which have been denied homeownership through systemic discrimination epitomized by historic government-backed redlining and continued barriers. Addressing these inequities requires bold public policies such as targeted down payment assistance and broad-based student debt cancelation.”

Among the key findings of the report:

  • Based on income, a typical white renter household needs 9 years, a Latino renter household 11 years, and a Black renter household 14 years to save for a minimal down payment of 5% for a mortgage;
  • A typical renter household in Los Angeles would need 16 years to save for a minimal down payment, the longest time of any of the top ten most populous metropolitan areas;
  • Low- and middle-income essential workers or those whose industries have been hardest-hit by job loss need 13 to 21 years to save for a minimal down payment;
  • It would take the typical nursing assistant two decades to save for a minimal down payment this;
  • Among older millennials, the net worth of homeowners is 20 times the net worth of renters;
  • Student debt overall increases the time it takes to save for a minimal down payment by over 39 months for young Black college graduate households compared to their white peers; and,
  • The typical white household whose head has a high school education or lower has $33,000 more in wealth than the typical Black household whose head has a bachelor’s degree or higher ($105,590 vs. $72,450).

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Press Contact: matthew.kravitz@responsiblelending.org