Who decides what our neighborhoods look like? And who profits from these projects? The answer is a combination of real estate developers, brokers, investors, agents and property owners — the overwhelming majority of whom are white. For generations, real estate ownership in the U.S. by people of color was either impossible or severely restricted. And these legacies of racism persist.
According to the Federal Reserve, whites — who make up almost 60% of the U.S. population — own more than $30 trillion in residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural property. Blacks and Latinos — who together account for more than 30% of the population — own just over $5 trillion. Nearly three-quarters of white Americans own their own home, compared to 48% of Latinos and 44% of Blacks. In rural areas of the U.S., whites own an astonishing 98% of the land.
More wealth is created and transferred across generations through real estate than almost any other asset. When marginalized communities don’t own property, they don’t have control over their physical space or the wealth it creates, and they cannot pass it down to future generations. They struggle to influence decisions about their own communities. Value is removed from the community via the payment of rent. Neighborhoods are subject to the choices of developers, municipal governments and other outside groups.
Read the full article at Housing Wire.
This article was produced by Footnote in partnership with Arizona State University.