Discrimination still exists, even here in this liberal bastion of Los Angeles.
A new analysis conducted by real estate website Zillow looked at mortgage denial rates by race. It found that people of Asian descent, Latinos and African Americans all saw higher rates of being turned down compared to whites in L.A.
The report, released this morning, also found that area home values for black and Latino owners, who were "hit hardest by the housing crisis," were still far below their pre-recession peaks, while Asian homes were above those figures and white homes were near those highs, the site said in a statement.
In L.A. African Americans had the highest rate of home-loan denial. More than one in five black applicants (21.6 percent) who sought Federal Housing Administration and conventional loans were denied, Zillow found.
Latinos were close behind with a near one-in-five (17.5 percent) denial rate, the site said. People of Asian descent were closer to one in 10, with 14.4 percent. And whites saw a close to one-in-10 denial rate, or 11.5 percent, Zillow said.
Home ownership is one of the cornerstones of economic stability and middle class prosperity, so this is important stuff in a metro area that's majority minority and nearly 50 percent Latino.
The value of one's home can also tell you whether a family is on its way up or on its way down to the curb. Zillow found that black and Latino home values have lost one-fifth of their pre-recession peak value in L.A. even as the residences of other groups, particularly Asians and whites, have rebounded. A spokeswoman told us this:
Asian and white communities are pretty much back to peak levels (likely out of negative equity) while black and Hispanic communities are still down 20 percent from peak.
Much of the same is true nationwide, too.
The home-value issue for African Americans and Latinos is worse on a coast-to-coast basis, while Asian Americans seemed to make out the best. Zillow:
Home values in Asian neighborhoods are 9.6 percent above their peak levels. White neighborhoods remain 8.2 percent below their peaks. Home values in black communities are 17.9 percent from peak, and values in Hispanic neighborhoods are 24.2 percent below peak.
Likewise, Zillow found that 27.6 percent of blacks and 21.9 percent of Latinos were denied home loans nationwide, compared to 10.4 percent of whites.
To be fair, Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries notes that black and Latino applicants earn an average of $20,000 a year less in income than whites. In Los Angeles, whites earn more than twice what Latinos do, according to the Social Science Research Council. Humphries:
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... It's clear that the housing playing field remains strikingly unequal in this country. Black and Hispanic applicants for conventional home loans make roughly $20,000 less per year than white applicants, resulting in much higher denial rates. Similarly, black and Hispanic communities are clustered in areas that saw huge run-ups in home values prior to the recession, and even larger drops during the crash. But there are some reasons for optimism. Home values in black and Hispanic communities are expected to rise faster over the coming year, and the data shows that Federal Housing Administration-backed loans have proven to be a viable and critical source of financing in minority communities.