Foreclosure Crisis Causes Disproportionate Loss of Wealth among Communities of Color

A new report from the Alliance for a Just Society finds that the foreclosure crisis continues across America, but particularly for people of color. The study shows that communities with a majority population of people of color faced a greater loss of wealth than predominately white communities in 2012. With 13.2 million mortgages still underwater, the Alliance for a Just Society argues that the foreclosure crisis continues.According to the report, communities of color received a disproportionate share of subprime mortgages in the years before the housing crash and were therefore at a higher risk of facing foreclosure. Prior to the Great Recession, 35% of subprime loans were issued to borrowers who qualified for prime loans, and blacks and Latinos were 80% and 70% respectively more likely to receive subprime loans than white borrowers, after controlling for income, credit scores, and other factors.Furthermore, when facing foreclosure, black and Latino mortgage holders were 76% and 71% more likely to have lost their homes than white borrowers. The authors also found that in ZIP codes where more than half of the population includes people of color, there were 17 foreclosures per 1,000 households. In comparison, there were just 10 foreclosures per 1,000 households in ZIP codes with predominately white households. The average wealth lost per household in majority people of color ZIP codes was $2,200, compared to just $1,300 in majority white ZIP codes. This loss of wealth in the form of home equity is especially devastating in communities of color because black and Latino communities hold 49% and 52% of total assets in home equity, compared with just 28% for white families. The report contains state-level data on lost wealth and foreclosure rates in the appendices. The future of the housing crisis is still unknown for the 13.2 million underwater mortgages across the country. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 13% of homeowners have missed three or more mortgage payments, meaning they are likely to be foreclosed upon in the near future. The Alliance for a Just Society recommends implementing policies that would keep people in their homes and preserve community wealth by resetting mortgages. Access the full report, Wasted Wealth, at: