Mar 8, 2023 - Real Estate

Black homeowners gain less ground in Seattle than elsewhere

Illustration of a door knocker in the shape of a dollar sign

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Black-owned homes in Seattle aren't appreciating as fast as Black-owned homes in other cities, according to a recently published Zillow analysis.

Driving the news: The national racial home-value gap is the smallest its been in the past two decades, with Black-owned homes appreciating more than any others since the pandemic, according to that same survey.

  • But that's not the case in Seattle and some other expensive West Coast cities where the racial home-value gap increased, rather than decreased, over the last few years.
  • That's due largely to those cities' already existing affordability issues, said Nicole Bachaud, senior economist at Zillow.

Why it matters: Because homeowners of color are more likely to have the bulk of their household wealth tied up in their homes, home value gains are an important step toward wealth building and equity, Bachaud said.

By the numbers: In Seattle, the home-value gap between Black-owned homes and typical homes in the Seattle area increased by 1.5 percentage points since February 2020, according to the Zillow analysis.

  • Nationally, that gap shrank by 2.5 percentage points.

Black homeowners in the Seattle area saw their home values increase 27.9% during the pandemic, compared to an increase of 30.2% for Seattle-area home values overall.

  • White-owned home values in the area increased 30.1% in that same timeframe, the report found.
  • According to 2021 U.S. Census numbers, 6.8% of Seattle residents identified as Black.

Zoom in: Home values were already so high in some West Coast cities, like Seattle, that the gains were not as pronounced as in other regions of the U.S., Bachaud explained.

Zoom out: Nationally, the trend of home value appreciation for Black homeowners outpacing other races accelerated at the start of the pandemic.

  • From February 2020 to January 2023, Black homeowners saw their home values increase 42.5%, compared to 38.2% for U.S. home values overall.

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