MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - New data is shedding new light on a longstanding problem: The shocking gap in homeownership between white and Black communities.
"Real estate is the only true pathway to putting money in a piggy bank and watching it grow by just living," said Edina Realty broker Jamar Hardy.
It's one of the best ways to grow wealth and yet buying a home is far from an equal opportunity investment.
"I just know we have a ton of work to do," said Hardy.
The data from real estate brokerage Redfin shows nationwide 44 percent of Black families are homeowners compared to about 74 percent of white families. But in Minneapolis, the gap is far worse, with only 25 percent of Black families owning their home compared to 76 percent of white families, making for the widest gap in the country.
"We need to re-evaluate thinking of Minneapolis as this progressive utopia," said public historian Denise Pike.
Pike says to understand the racial inequity in Minneapolis, you have to understand the city’s history where up until only about fifty years ago people of color weren’t allowed to own a home.
"The reason we have such bad racial disparities here is because of this history but if we aren’t dealing with it," she says. "We’re still going to live with that legacy."
Organizations like the city of Lakes Community Land Trust has helped more than 100 Black families buy homes in Minneapolis and continues to do so, but says it's going to take a major public investment to truly make a difference.
"For every percentage that we want to decrease that homeownership disparity in the city of Minneapolis, it's going to take roughly a $20 million investment,” she concludes.
As some say public officials have focused on building affordable rentals for far too long, only compounding the wealth gap.
"Just getting a house and being house poor is not sustainable housing," said Hardy. "It's finding a house and building your wealth off of."