Report highlights obstacles and suggests solutions to Black homeownership in Detroit 

Mortgage lending in the City of Detroit is trending upward despite African-Americans being disproportionately prevented from buying homes, according to a new Detroit Future City report. 

Black home ownership used to be the norm in Detroit. As recently as the early 2000s, the had one of the highest levels of Black home ownership in the country.

But this has changed over the last decade, with Detroit becoming a renter-majority city even as mortgage lending approvals trend upwards.

A recent Detroit Future City report, “Buying In: Opportunities For Increasing Homeownership in Detroit Through Mortgage Lending,” looks at why homeownership rates have plummeted in the city, and why Black people have been disproportionately effected by this trend.

“There is something in the system that is pushing African Americans, even upper income African Americans, at a higher denial rate.” — Anika Goss, CEO of Detroit Future City.

Listen: How the mortgage lending process can be amended to increase homeownership opportunities for Black Detroiters.



Anika Goss is the CEO of Detroit Future City, a local think tank. She says Black Detroiters are denied mortgages at rates that are much higher than their white peers.

“For the upper income (bracket),” says Goss, “African American’s were still denied at a rate of 23 percent as opposed to white borrowers that were being denied at a rate of 10 percent. And so, there is something in the system that is pushing African Americans, even upper income African Americans, at a higher denial rate.”

John Gallagher is a former journalist at the Detroit Free Press, and the lead author of the Detroit Future City report titled, Buying In: Opportunities for Increasing Homeownership in Detroit Through Mortgage Lending.” He suggests multiple changes need to be made to the home-buying process, including alternative credit worthiness measures, reforming the appraisal process, and improved marketing to African-American buyers.

You need to do sort of everything,” says Gallagher, “because anything that makes it easier to live and invest and prosper in Detroit will make it easier to get a mortgage.”

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