African Americans are more likely to be denied a home mortgage in Mississippi than in any other state.
African American applicants for home loans are denied at a rate double that of white Mississippians, according to the most recently available federal data.
Every year, the federal government collects data as part of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act of 1975.
The Clarion Ledger reviewed that data, which shows African Americans in Mississippi have been — and continue to be — denied home loans at a rate far higher than other states.
Because the transition from renting a home to buying a home is a significant step in building wealth and moving into the middle or upper class, the Clarion Ledger review did not include loans for refinancing or home additions. The review looked at manufactured and single-family residences, not multifamily dwellings.
Data from 2017 show stark divides between African American and white Mississippians.
Compared to the rest of the country, all Mississippi borrowers have significantly lower incomes. They are much more likely to ask for loans for manufactured housing, such as mobile homes, and are much more likely to be denied for a loan.
Here’s what we found:
- Nationwide, the average denial rate of a home loan application was about 12 percent. Mississippi had the highest rate — more than 22 percent — of home loan denials.
- In Mississippi,more than 35 percent of mortgage applications submitted by African Americans in Mississippi were denied. That’s compared to 16 percent of home loans denied to white applicants. It’s also the highest rate of loan denials to African Americans in the country.
- In Mississippi, African Americans applied for 10,564 home loans and were denied 3,711 times. White Mississippians applied for 27,589 home loans and were denied 4,549 times.
- People applying for home loans in Mississippi had the lowest average income — $66,016 — of any state. People in New York had the highest, at $129,540.
- African American applicants for a home loan in Mississippi had an average income of $48,474. White applicants had an average income of $71,661.
- Mississippi had the highest rate of loan applications for manufactured housing — 27 percent. Nationwide, the average was 7 percent.
- Mississippi has 82 counties. African Americans were denied home loans at a rate of 40 percent or higher in 68 of those counties. Whites were denied home loans at rate of 40 percent or higher in only one county — Jefferson County, at 41 percent.
- Even in counties where denial rates for African American applicants was relatively low, they were significantly more likely to be denied than whites. Madison County, for example, had the second lowest denial rate for African Americans seeking a loan — 23 percent. However, that’s more than three times higher than the denial rate for whites — 7 percent.
- There were 41,182 home loan applications in Mississippi in 2017. More than half — 24,831 — resulted in a loan being originated.
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, it’s important to publish the annual mortgage databecause “they shed light on lending patterns that could be discriminatory.”
Congress passed the Fair Housing Act in 1968, making it illegal to deny a home loan to someone on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin.
Many other states have laws that are stricter to ensure potential home-buyers are not discriminated against.
According to LawAtlas 43 states have penalties for violating fair housing standards. The site says Mississippi is the only state in the country that does not prohibit discrimination in housing-related transactions.