The COVID-19 pandemic helped fuel a home-buying frenzy in the Tampa Bay area, turning it into one of the hottest markets in the country. New research shows that Black homeowners may have benefited from that housing boom more than any other group.
Black residents in the Tampa metro area saw a 56.5% increase in home values since February 2020, according to a report released by Zillow this week. That’s compared to a 53.2% increase for local homes overall.
Home values for all U.S. households increased by just 38.2% while home values for Black households increased by 42.5%.
Orphe Divounguy, a senior economist for Zillow, said that a long history of discriminatory housing practices have led to lower home values in predominantly Black areas.
“Black neighborhoods tend to be more segregated,” he said. “They may not have the same access to resources as white neighborhoods.”
In the Tampa Bay region, values for Black homeowners are still lower. The typical Black-owned home is worth around $323,866 compared to $360,578 overall. But that gap has shrunk by 1.9 percentage points since February 2020.
Divounguy said that Black homeowners across the country tend to live in bigger cities and denser urban neighborhoods where the available supply of housing is scarce. Demand for housing in those places has surged in recent years, causing a spike in property values for existing residents.
But increasing mortgage rates over the past year have caused housing demand to cool. It is still unclear what impact this may have on Black-owned home values moving forward.
Divounguy said that the growing number of Black families purchasing homes since the pandemic signaled a step in the right direction. From 2019 to 2021, the Black homeownership rate increased by 1.9 percentage points in the Tampa metro area.
Still, only 45.4% of Black residents own their homes compared to 67.8% of residents overall.
“Homeownership is still the key to building wealth in America,” Divounguy said. “It’s such an important decision that will have huge consequences not just for yourself but for your children.”