The overall U.S. housing market has recovered from the crisis that plunged the country into recession. But a new analysis by The Washington Post shows that the recovery has been deeply uneven, creating winners and losers along lines of race, income and geography.
The Post analysis, based on data from Black Knight Financial Services spanning 2004 through 2015, shows how the nation’s housing recovery has exacerbated inequality, leaving behind many Americans of moderate means. It also helps explain why the economic recovery feels incomplete, especially in neighborhoods where the value of housing — often the biggest family asset — has recovered little, if at all.
While a typical single-family home has gained less than 14 percent in value since 2004, homes in the most expensive neighborhoods have gained 21 percent. Regional factors such as the Western energy boom explain some differences, but in many cities the housing market’s arc has deepened disparities between the rich and everyone else, such as in Boston, where gentrifying urban neighborhoods have thrived and far-flung suburbs have fallen behind.
Also striking is how minority neighborhoods lag in the recovery. Zip codes where blacks are the largest population group are more than twice as likely as white Zip codes to have homes now worth less than in 2004.
How is your neighborhood doing?
A single-family home in Zip code 75201 in Dallas, Tex., was worth$611,957 on average in 2015, about 36 percent more than in 2004.It's a moderately populated, mostly white area. The home values are typically higher than most of the homes in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Tex. area.
A nation of unequal housing fortunes
These maps and the stories that follow are built upon an analysis of how home values have changed since near the start of the nation’s housing turmoil in 2004 in 19,000 Zip codes. They show where housing values have enjoyed the best growth, and where they’ve suffered most.
At the beginning of this period, values escalated rapidly in the bubble, fueled by financial speculation, subprime lending and an abiding national faith in homeownership as a sure-fire source of wealth. Prices peaked by 2007, then collapsed, causing the worst recession since the Great Depression. Trillions of dollars of wealth were lost and millions lost their homes to foreclosure as values dropped to their nadir in 2011. Since then, the recovery has been swift for some and sluggish for others, creating a fractured national map of housing fortunes.