Decades of Arizona Inequitable Housing Policies Got Us Here.

by Deedra Abboud in Mindset, Political, Social Views
April 18, 2022 0 comments

Many areas of South Phoenix are being revived as a result of new housing and retail developments, as well as investment from the light rail expansion.

However, the area, which experienced some of the highest foreclosure rates during the Great Recession, is now experiencing its first affordable housing crunch.

The neighborhood has become a hotspot for homebuilding, yet many of the new homes are out of reach for many inhabitants.

South Phoenix is experiencing some of the Valley’s most significant increases in rentals and house prices, and the real estate boom is forcing many of the area’s longtime residents to leave because they can no longer afford to live there. 

Arizona’s homeownership rates reflect the impact of decades of unjust housing policies.

Despite the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968, which made discrimination illegal, black homeownership has declined in Arizona during the last 50 years.

According to census data, around 66% of white households in Arizona owned a home in 1970, while approximately 49% of Black households owned a home.

White homeownership had climbed slightly to 67% of families by 1990, while Black homeownership had declined to 41% of households.

Many Black and Latino persons were targeted with predatory subprime loans during the housing bubble. In 2006, 53% of all Black homebuyers in the United States and 47% of Latino homebuyers used a subprime loan to purchase or refinance a property.

In comparison, 26% of white homebuyers acquire subprime loans.

Subprime mortgages accounted for the majority of houses taken back by lenders in Arizona, which led the nation in foreclosures for much of the recession. The foreclosure crisis wreaked the most havoc on Phoenix’s south and west communities.

According to the most recent census statistics, white homeownership in Arizona was 71.1% in 2019. The rate of Latino homeownership was 53.9%, while the rate of Black homeownership was 34.6%.

Most south Phoenix areas have considerably lower rates of Black and Latino homeowners.

Compare that to the most recent Census, which shows the self-identified racial composition of Arizona was: 54.1% White, 5.2% Black or African American, and 31.7% Latino/a or Hispanic, with the majority of the entire Arizona population (60%) residing in the Phoenix greater metropolitan area (Maricopa County).

For decades, Black and Latino/a homebuyers were unable to legally purchase or even live in homes outside of south Phoenix, with discrimination against Black and Latino/a Phoenix residents being far more common than redlining.

In some ways, when looking at the homeownership statistics, little has changed.

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