Steve Harvey

The Pandemic Housing Boom Has Escaped Black Americans

Everett Benyard thought he was finally in a strong enough financial position to purchase his first home earlier this year. He’d saved money by living with his parents for a time and secured a higher-paying job in 2020.

But the 30-year-old San Diego corrections officer has struggled to compete in one of the country’s hottest real estate markets, where the median home price on single-family houses reached $860,000 in July, according to the California Association of Realtors. Benyard is one of many Black Americans who are being disproportionately priced out of pandemic-fueled housing boom.

Before the pandemic, the Black homeownership rate in America was slowly but steadily rising — a small but significant economic bright spot against a backdrop of racial inequality. Then the pandemic slammed the brakes on that upward trend, even as homeownership among White Americans continued to climb.

“It’s just so competitive in this market right now,” Benyard said. “The prices are extremely high.”