A largely unexplained gap between the homeownership rates of whites and blacks in Los Angeles County still would exist even if education and income levels of the two groups were equal, according to findings by the University of Southern California's Lusk Center for Real Estate.
A report released last week provides new insight into differences in homeownership rates among blacks, Latinos, Asians and whites in the county.
"One possibility is that blacks may feel limited in their housing choices, given the relatively limited number of predominantly black or integrated neighborhoods in Los Angeles County," said Stuart Gabriel, director of the Lusk Center and an author of the study. "With fewer housing choices, blacks may be more inclined to rent than to buy."
"It is also likely that the decline in black homeownership in Los Angeles County was partly offset by increases in black homeownership in surrounding counties, reflecting the selective movement of younger black households to outlying areas," Gabriel said.
The study found Latinos would have the same rate of homeownership as whites and Asians if they had the same level of education and income as those groups.
According to the researchers, the difference in the homeownership rates of blacks and whites in Los Angeles County increased during the period of the study even though the percentage of blacks in the population declined.
"Discrimination in access to homeownership may well have held down black homeownership, but it is not likely that discrimination increased during the study period," Gabriel said.