In Chicago, Black Mortgage Applicants Denied Three Times the Rate of White Applicants

by Peter Thomas Ricci

Minority groups have a harder time accessing mortgages in the U.S., but it’s particularly pronounced here in Chicagoland.


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In the Chicagoland metro area, 32.1 percent of African-Americans are denied in their applications for conventional mortgages, according to a new analysis from Zillow; that’s not only three times the 10.1 percent denial rate for white applicants, but also the highest denial rate among all the metro areas that Zillow surveyed.

To be fair, the national averages were not any more encouraging. Of all applicants, the denial rate was 12.4 percent for conventional loans, but while the denial rate fell for white applicants to 10.4 percent, it rose for both Hispanic and African American applicants to 21.9 and 27.6 percent, respectively.

“Strikingly Unequal” Housing Behind Denial Rates

Stan Humphries, the chief economist at Zillow, said that a stark inequality is behind the aforementioned stats.

“While many of the disparities between the experiences of white communities and minority communities during the housing boom and bust can be explained by plain differences in finances and geography, it’s clear that the housing playing field remains strikingly unequal in this country,” Humphries said.

The key economic trends, Humphries stated, are twofold: first, both Hispanic and African American mortgage applicants make roughly $20,000 less per year than white applicants; and second, Hispanic/African American communities experienced both big run-ups during the housing boom and terrible drops during the downturn.

Not all is lost, though. Humphries did note that home prices are expected to pick up in those communities over 2015 and 2016, and that recent data shows that minority homebuyers have found success with FHA-backed loans.

See our graph below for some additional perspective:

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