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Study: Homes In Majority Black Neighborhoods Worth Less Than Comparable Homes In White Ones

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An aerial view of homes in Pittsburgh.

Homes in Pittsburgh’s majority black neighborhoods are worth less than comparable homes in white neighborhoods, according to a new study by the Brookings Institution.


On average across the country, that difference in value is 23 percent, or $48,000, according to the Washington D.C.-based think tank. Researcher Andre Perry said in Pittsburgh, the gap is smaller but still significant. When he compared homes of similar qualities in neighborhoods with similar amenities, the homes in majority black neighborhoods were worth about $11,000 less.

“Pittsburgh showed what many other cities have shown,” said Perry. “That a history of segregation, a history of redlining, a tradition of not treating each other with respect, actually has a cost.”

Redlining was a federal practice of refusing mortgage lending to those who lived in black neighborhoods, which were deemed to be financial risks. Decades later, the impact of that practice is still felt, and poverty is largely concentrated in those redlined neighborhoods across the country.

Perry said he hopes this data helps to empower black neighborhoods by showing them what their assets are truly worth.

“What’s really hurting black communities is that we’re taking money away from them that could be used to pull themselves up,” Perry said. “That equity should be used for tuition, to start a business, to improve a home.”

Perry said racist practices are still evident in the real estate sector, but that social dynamics and perceptions of black communities also impact the value of homes.

“And so it’s not just the structural and institutional racism that we typically talk about in terms of policies, but it is also in the day to day interactions that impact housing prices,” said Perry.