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Yun: White dropouts have higher homeownership rate than black college graduates

Hank Hayes • Mar 31, 2018 at 8:00 AM

KINGSPORT — White college dropouts are more likely to be homeowners than African-American college graduates, National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun told a Southeast regional group of Realtors on Friday.

“The homeownership rate for African-Americans is about 40 percent, while for white America it is solidly above 70 percent,” Yun said during a meeting at the MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center. “Some of the underlying factors is the economic gap in the system. The shocking statistic is the following: (the homeownership rate for an) African-American college graduate is 57 percent. For a white person who is not a high school graduate, their home ownership rate is 62 percent.

“It just doesn’t make sense. … Maybe some of it is due to the African-American population being younger. … Maybe over time (the African-American) homeownership rate will begin to rise.”

How is the real estate market doing?

“Overall the real estate market has been recovering nicely. The (NAR) membership number has been rising along with it,” Yun noted. “From my perspective, we don’t necessarily say the membership number is good for the industry or not good for the industry. … The membership number in your area will continue to rise for 2018. … Membership is driven essentially by two factors: How the housing market has been doing and it’s doing pretty well … and given that we had a good year in 2017 that automatically in 2018 membership always trails the market condition so members will be higher.”

Yun is projecting the NAR will grow to 1.35 million members in 2018.

Is there anything restricting housing growth?

“One (reason) is the demise of the community banks. … The second part is the lack of construction workers getting more trade skills in the market,” Yun told the group. “There’s a shortage of truck drivers, raising the cost of deliveries, and an inventory shortage. … Throughout 2017, people felt good about buying a home.

“In the first quarter of 2018, people are less optimistic about buying a home. The reason is that homes are becoming more unaffordable and people are getting priced out. Second, they are not excited about the inventory choices. … That has taken away some of the enthusiasm for consumers.”

How will commercial real estate do in 2018?

“Commercial real estate will see a change in 2018 in fewer transactions,” Yun stressed. “That is real odd because people say we are in an improving economy. … So why would commercial real estate see some change negatively? Sellers would say, ‘The economy is good. I’m not going to reduce my price.’ The buyers would say, ‘The Federal Reserve is raising (interest) rates. I cannot pay that price. The numbers do not work out.’ When you have a standoff, there are fewer transactions.”

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