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Indianapolis Blacks own homes at same rate as they did in 1960s

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The 2021 gap between the homeownership rates of white people and Black people in Indianapolis is 28.4 percentage points, which is just shy of the national average of about 27 percentage points, according to a study from the TV show and podcast “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford.”

The study explains the Black homeownership rates are still the same as they were 60 years ago.

Imhotep Sankofa, a Black homeowner in Pike Township, explained why investing in a home may make sense. “I love Michael Jordan, but he’s not going to pay any bills. So instead of wasting money on high-priced gym shoes, save that or invest that. You do want to see the growth and development, especially of younger Black people.”

Sankoa, who’s lived in the same house for the last 21 years, says he’s seen his neighborhood go through what he calls “migrations.” “I’ve seen it go from predominately white to more mixed to Black, white, then back white, and now I would say it’s mixed again. It’s definitely gentrification.”

According to the study, the state has a Black and white homeownership rate gap of 37.6 percentage points. Anything over zero means there’s not a gap, with the higher the number, the larger the gap.

“My first reaction to those numbers is, frankly, one of embarrassment,” said “Today’s Homeowner’s” data journalist Shadi Bushra. “We have all of these cultural evolutions that have taken place since then, and yet, somehow, this particular metric of equity has just refused to budge.”

Bushra tells I-Team 8 that the Great Recession from late 2007 into 2009 caused banks to overcorrect and then tighten who gets approved for loans. He says, while Indianapolis has stayed consistent in the gap between Black and white homeowners, around the country, the gap is widening.

“Given the wealth gap between Black and white Americans, given the fact that a lot of first-time Black homeowners do not have parents who can help them with a down payment, or even parents who can help them, you know, navigate this whole process, it has meant that, over the last 10 years, we have seen the gap grow at a faster pace than since 1960,” Bushra said.

For Sankoa in Pike Township, financial education passed down from his parents is what helped him. “That’s what I’m trying to tell young people and stuff like that. I know you guys worry about looking good, but you’ve got to think about nuts-and-bolts investing. Land never, just never, goes anywhere.”

Bushra gave I-Team 8 these tips for future Black homeowners and people trying to sell homes:

  • Shop around for different mortgages. Banks often will have special programs that can lend assistance to minorities.
  • If selling, get multiple appraisals.
  • Create intergenerational knowledge by leaning on others who have gone through the process.