Blacks still pay more than others for home ownership – MIT study

FILE PHOTO: A residential building construction site is seen, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., April 28, 2020. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

NEW YORK (Reuters) – African Americans still pay more than any other group to own a home, a disparity that over 30 years contributes to roughly half the current $130,000 gap between Blacks and whites in savings at retirement, a recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows.

The annual difference of $743 in mortgage interest payments, $550 in mortgage insurance premiums and $390 in property taxes, when invested over 30 years results in lost retirement savings of $67,320 for Black homeowners, according to the study called “The Unequal Costs of Black Homeownership.”

These inequities make it impossible for black households to build housing wealth at the same rate as white households, said the study, whose lead author, Edward Golding, is executive director of the MIT Golub Center for Finance and Policy.

Black homeowners on average have lower credit scores and lower down payments, largely rooted in past discriminatory policies and practices, making them disproportionately disadvantaged by risk-based pricing, the study found.

Golding, a former head of the Federal Housing Administration, said in a statement that “mortgages costs are determined by markets to some extent,” but “there is a great deal of public policy that influences these rates especially as it impacts people of color.”

Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Alden Bentley and David Gregorio

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‘Game changer:’ Trump targets virus tests to blacks, school children, nursing homes, disaster areas

The Trump administration has put a focus on nursing homes, hospices, school children, black colleges, first responders and Native Americans in its expanding effort to distribute for free 150 million coronavirus tests to states.

Mike Pence wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump arrives in the Rose Garden with Vice President Mike Pence Monday to speak about coronavirus testing shipments to states.

© Evan Vucci/AP
President Donald Trump arrives in the Rose Garden with Vice President Mike Pence Monday to speak about coronavirus testing shipments to states.

In a coordinated effort capped by Vice President Mike Pence’s hour-long call with 43 governors to finalize the plan, the administration is prioritizing areas where the infections are 5%-10% and first responders.

What’s more, the administration through the Department of Health and Human Services is coordinating needed training for the Abbott BinaxNOW tests.

The new effort won praise from New Jersey’s Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy who told Pence in the Monday roll-out call, “Thank you Mr. Vice President and the whole team, thank you for everything but certainly thanks for today. This is a game changer, we’re proud of the testing regime that we have built with your great partnership with a lot of people in that room.”

Some media reports have claimed that the effort, spelled out Monday, has suffered from coordination hangups.

But Michael Bars, a White House senior communications adviser, said the planning has been in the works since Trump announced the effort in a March Rose Garden event.

“In March, President Trump called for an aggressive private-public partnership to advance testing capabilities in the United States – now six months later we are witnessing this promise in action

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