Seattle seeks to double Black homeownership rate

In recent years, it has become increasingly difficult for would-be buyers to become homeowners in the Seattle-Tacoma region. However, those odds become even steeper for Black homebuyers. Since the pandemic, Black homeownership rates in our region have fallen to rates lower than those seen in the 1960s. This is due to the fact that Black households in the Seattle-Tacoma region average about half the income of their white counterparts, effectively pricing them out of this extremely competitive market. Additionally, four in ten Black households have zero net worth. However, a new coalition aims to address these inequities, with the goal of doubling the rate of Black homeownership in the our area.

Civic Commons has partnered with JPMorgan Chase & Co to create a new coalition called the Black Home Initiative (BHI). The group aims to double the Black homeownership rate over the next two decades in King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties. By 2027, it also aims to build 1,500 new homes in King and north Pierce counties, along with convening like-minding businesses and organizations to continue to remove barriers to homeownership for Black households.

The difference between BHI and other similar programs is the drive to create a network of organizations. Many similar efforts are headed by just one or two organizations, while BHI wants to create a “constellation” of interconnected partners through its coalition.

The organization was founded in 2020, after the death of George Floyd. By 2021, there were over 140 participants, including bankers and financiers.

The coalition has seven core focus areas: marketing and outreach, pre- and post-purchase counseling, purchase supports and tools, credit and lending, policies and practices, and sustaining existing homeowners.

Members of BHI helped to fast-track the passage of the Covenants Home Ownership Account, which is working to remove racially restrictive covenants from real estate in the area. The group also serves low-income households through the use of increased recording fees, hosting accelerators for Black developers and tackling racial inequities in assessed home values. The group’s initiatives are also leading changes in credit scoring and creating special purpose credit programs to increase loan approvals for underserved populations.

For more information on BHI’s services, please visit

Information for this article was sourced from Puget Sound Business Journal.

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