Homeownership is a way for many to create wealth but it is often inaccessible for certain racialized groups. In fact, data from the 2016 Census suggest that Black households have the lowest probability of homeownership in Canada. Despite this, Canadian research into barriers to homeownership for Black households is limited.
The Buying While Black research project will examine the challenges that Black Canadians face when pursuing homeownership. It will address key research questions and create recommendations to foster a deeper understanding of the issue. In particular, it seeks to understand whether certain policies or programs create additional barriers for Black households to become homeowners.
3 Key Goals
Identify the barriers that exist along the pathway to homeownership for Black Canadians.
Analyze the homebuying experience of Black Canadians.
Identify the impact of housing policies and programs on Black homeownership.
Project scope and expected outcomes
Understanding homeownership inaccessibility for Black households
Homeownership rates for Black households are among the lowest in Canada and are well below that of white households. Inaccessible homeownership has lasting impacts on the Black community. For instance, it limits the creation of intergenerational wealth, meaning that equity isn’t being built through homeownership. This makes it difficult to pass on wealth, making it harder for the next generation to attain homeownership.
Studies suggest that socioeconomic and demographic differences are not enough to explain this discrepancy. Rather, racial discrimination appears to be a key driver of the discrepancy. Data highlighting this issue exist but there is limited research that examines the connections between race and home-ownership. Similarly, there is little research into how housing policies or programs influence access to homeownership among Black households.
This project aims to add to the knowledge about barriers to homeownership for Black Canadians. Until 2020, there was little or no discussion among policy-makers about the issue. Investigating the core causes of homeownership barriers that exist for Black Canadians, however, will produce new information. This can then inform the discussion on:
- what unique barriers exist
- why they exist
- how they can be addressed through policy
Encouraging dialogue around barriers to homeownership for Black Canadians
The project will investigate 3 key research questions using a mixed-method approach. This will include:
- a literature review
- key informant interviews
- secondary data collection
An online survey also will be administered to gain a better understanding of the pathways to homeownership for Black Canadians.
The key research questions are:
- What factors are influencing the homeownership experiences of Black households in the Greater Toronto Area? What elements are contributing to the discriminatory barriers to access to homeownership among Black households?
- How have housing policies and programs influenced the homeownership experience of Black households?
- How have non-profit organizations shaped the homeownership experience for Black households? What are the limitations and opportunities?
This approach will provide qualitative and quantitative data on experiences of homeownership among Black households in the Greater Toronto Area.
Supporting the work to address the challenges faced by Black Canadians
The research project aims to achieve 4 key outcomes:
- Provide information to enable policies and programs that support home-ownership within the Black community.
- Educate the public on the unique challenges that exist for Black households pursuing homeownership.
- Assist housing activists and community-based organizations in their work to address the barriers faced by Black households.
- Deepen the understanding of the challenges that Black households face when pursuing homeownership.
Utilizing policy as a tool for remedying racial inequality in homeownership
This study will help inform public policy by enriching our understanding of the barriers Black households face in accessing homeownership. This will provide a deeper understanding of anti-Black racism in the Canadian housing market to:
- policy makers
- other stakeholders
It will also provide policy recommendations to help make homeownership more achievable for Black Canadians.
Additionally, the project aims to encourage policy makers to collect more data on the obstacles Black households face when pursuing homeownership. It will also attempt to understand and explain the homeownership experiences of Black Canadians. Finally it will inform the work of community organizations that seek to provide housing targeted to Black Canadians.
Program: NHS Research and Planning Fund
Activity Stream: Research Project
Title of the Research: Buying While Black: Barriers to Black Home-Ownership in Canada
Principal Investigator: Dr. Nemoy Lewis, Toronto Metropolitan University
Project Director/Manager: The Black Planning Project
Lead Applicant: Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area
Project Collaborators / Partners:
- Black Business and Professional Association
- The Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community & Diaspora
- CP Planning
- Black North Initiative
Research project webpage: https://www.blackplanningproject.com/blackhomeownership