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New Jersey's Black Homeownership Gap is Wider Than National Average


Some say more Black realtors could help promote Black homeownership

There is a significant Black-white home ownership gap in New Jersey. Almost 77% of white households own their homes, versus 41% of Black households. That gap of 36 points is five points wider than the national average.

Daba Briggs is a real estate agent in Jersey City. She said she doesn’t see institutionalized racism on a regular basis, but said it still exists and gave an example involving a Black couple she was working with.

“People don’t typically ask for ID, picture ID, you’re just supposed to judge the application based on what you see on paper,” she said, “but they asked at the very end when I submitted everything, they were asking, we want to see who we’re talking about.”

Some say more Black realtors could help promote Black homeownership. But Briggs said the costs of getting into the business can be prohibitive.

“Just getting into real estate costs thousands of dollars before you even make a penny,” she said, “so it is a big deterrent for people to start in an industry or to start in a career that you’re starting off in debt.”

A study shows just 7 percent of members of the National Association of Realtors are Black. To try to draw more Blacks into real estate, the online listing agency Homelight is collaborating on a scholarship program with the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, an industry group that helps the careers of Black realtors. Ten winners will be announced in the weeks to come --- each will get up to $5000 to be used for startup expenses.

Janice Kirkel is a lifelong award-winning journalist who has done everything from network newscasts to national and local sports reports to business newscasts to specialized reporting and editing in technical areas of business and finance such as bankruptcy, capital structure changes and reporting on the business of the investment business.