Phawat Topaisan / EyeEm / Getty Images
APRIL 18, 2023 By Kerry Smith
NAR report cites Port St. Lucie for its homeownership rate of 83% for mid-income residents, and Ocala and Palm Bay for a Black ownership rate higher than 60%.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A new housing report by the National Association of Realtors® finds that middle-income homeowners accumulated $122,100 in wealth as their homes appreciated by 68% in the last 10 years.
The report, Wealth Gains by Income and Racial/Ethnic Group, speaks to the value agents and Realtors® bring to consumers when helping buy and sell homes that build generational wealth. NAR released the report during its 2023 Realtor Broker Summit.
Variations by income and race
The data found substantial variations in homeownership rates across different income and racial and ethnic groups. For instance, low-income homeowners were able to build $98,900 in wealth in the last decade from home price appreciation only, while upper-income households saw an increase of $150,800.
“This analysis shows how homeownership is a catalyst for building wealth for people from all walks of life,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “A monthly mortgage payment is often considered a forced savings account that helps homeowners build a net worth about 40 times higher than that of a renter.”
Although Black homeowners experienced the smallest wealth gains among any other racial or ethnic group, Black homeowners accumulated over $115,000 in wealth in the last decade.
For the first time, NAR also identified the top 10 U.S. metros in which Black homeowners saw the largest wealth gains and homeownership rates over the last 10 years. They include:
- Bellingham, Washington
- Ocala, Florida
- Palm Bay, Florida
- Modesto, California
- Greeley, Colorado
- Charleston, South Carolina
In each metro, more than 60% of Black households own their home, and those owners accumulated more than $125,000 in wealth over the last decade.
Along with the wealth gains accumulated in the last decade, homeowners also saw their debt drop by 21%. Many homeowners were able to refinance and secure a rate lower than 4% in the months following the onset of COVID-19, Yun noted.
Homeowners generally gained more equity in areas with high-cost homes. No matter the income level, owners in expensive areas saw the largest wealth gains. In the San Jose metro, for example, low-income owners accumulated nearly $630,000 in the last decade, and middle-income owners gained $643,000. All of the top 10 areas with the largest wealth gains for low-income owners – surpassing $290,000 – were located in California.
In the top 10 areas with the highest homeownership rates for middle-income households, owners gained $110,000 in wealth on average in the last 10 years. In Ogden, Utah, for example, 85% of middle-income households own their home, and they’ve built nearly $220,000 in wealth in the last decade.
Some significant areas to note include Port St. Lucie, Florida, where the homeownership rate for middle-income households was 83%, and middle-income owners gained nearly $200,000 in wealth. The cities of Barnstable Town, Massachusetts and Palm Bay, Florida, were other areas where most middle-income households both owned their home and accumulated a substantial amount of wealth – over $170,000 – in the last decade.
In the areas with the highest homeownership rates for low-income households, wealth gains were $140,000 on average. NAR includes a number of Florida cities in its list of high equity gains for lower-income households. In Prescott, Arizona, more than 2 out of 3 low-income households (68%) own their own home, and owners have built more than $200,000 in wealth in the last decade.
Barnstable Town, Massachusetts, as well as the Florida cities of North Port, Port St. Lucie, Palm Bay and Deltona were other areas where most low-income households owned their home and accumulated a substantial amount of wealth – over $120,000 – in the last decade.
© 2023 Florida Realtors®