CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Brieauna Williams and her husband are a part of the fastest growing group in the U.S. real estate market – Black homeowners.
What You Need To Know
- Housing discrimination dates back to before the 1930s, when redlining was legal
- Black neighborhoods saw a higher jump in property values in Mecklenburg's 2016 property revaluation
- While Black homeownership is on the rise, the gap between Black homeowners and white homeowners has stayed between 20 and 30 percent for the last 100 years
Home ownership has been a priority for Williams since she was a child growing up in her mother’s house in Cleveland, Ohio.
“This house was actually passed down to her from my great-grandmother,” she said.
From the time she purchased her home in Charlotte's Beatties Ford community in 2019 until now, the number of Black homeowners has jumped by more than three percent, according to the latest U.S. census data — making it the biggest jump across all ethnicities during that time frame.
But that doesn’t hold a candle to white homeownership. The gap between Black and white homeowners sits at 30 percent, and has been that way for the last century, according to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.
Although Williams says the process of buying a home was fairly smooth for her family, Sarah Griffith, associate history professor at Queens University, says it’s not always that easy for Black people looking to purchase property.
Griffith says decades of discriminatory housing practices, financial wealth gaps and the recent drastic jump in property values in Mecklenburg County in 2019 are a few reasons.
“Increases of 50, 100, 200 percent happened in neighborhoods most dramatically that were historically Black and redlined,” Griffith said.
Those property value jumps priced out Williams’ friends who don’t have a dual-income household like she does.
“As far as our friend group, we’re the first ones to really purchase a home,” she said.
Williams and her husband say homeownership isn’t talked about enough in the Black community.
“We don’t have those financial conversations growing up, and that’s why it’s harder and people do get frustrated,” she said. “So, it doesn’t surprise me that there is this big gap in homeownership.”
It's a cycle she plans to break with her son.
“Just having those memories and saying, and being able to describe that to your kid, and having your kids have that luxury as well, I think is really important as well. That gives them a foundation,” Williams said
So, for now, she’s creating memories in her new family home to lay that foundation.
Griffith says now, gentrification is keeping Black people out of those historically Black neighborhoods.
In 2019, when property revaluations happened in Mecklenburg County, after eight years, many of those communities saw major hikes in property values. The Williams' home is in the historically Black Beatties Ford community. The value of their home jumped by 50 percent between 2016 and 2019.