clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Watch SF's Mortgages Get Whiter Over the Course of a Decade

New, 12 comments

The San Francisco-San Jose metropolitan area is one of the only regions in the country to have fully recovered from the 2008 burst of the housing bubble. Prices in San Francisco have soared back above previous peak levels. But, according to new research from the Urban Institute, the recovery's mortgage market has disproportionately favored white and Asian households. Mirroring national trends, San Francisco and San Jose have seen mortgages for African Americans and Hispanics plummet from their highs in 2005, at the height of the last boom. The share of mortgages going to Hispanics fell from 21.8 percent to 6.2 percent, while the proportion going to African Americans decreased from 5.9 percent to 1.6 percent.


You can watch it all unfold via the Urban Institute's map tool, which shows the density of new mortgages by race between 2001 and 2012. The map shows the entire US, but it's zoomable, so you can see this depressing trend take hold in the Bay Area up close.

The raw numbers around minority mortgages are as bleak as the market share percentages. In 2005, more than 76,000 mortgages were issued to minorities in the San Francisco/San Jose region, but by 2012 the number fell to just 19,000 new mortgages. Previous research has showed that minorities across the country were targeted disproportionately with subprime loans during the boom, which may account for some of the drop as that market has largely disappeared. However, the Urban Institute also points out that "a tilted job market" combined with increasing income inequality and strict lending standards have led to the disparity.

San Francisco is not alone in its lopsided recovery. Across the country, African Americans and Hispanics were receiving 23 percent of new mortgages in 2005, while by 2012 they were receiving just 12 percent. The Urban Institute recommends loosening current credit requirements to address the disparities, although it notes that a return to 2005 and 2006's free-lending ways would be ill advised.

· A New View of the Housing Boom and Bust [Urban Institute]
· Bubble Watch: Top-Tier Home Prices Surge Past 2007 Levels [Curbed SF]
· Mapping the Spread of Housing Inequality Across the Great Recession [CityLab]