WASHINGTON (AP) – ... Inequality in America has traditionally followed familiar patterns of race, age and education. Those long-standing gaps have been magnified by the real estate boom and now the historic bust, according to an Associated Press analysis of 2007 Census Bureau data.The traditional standard was don't go over 30% of your income, so 38% is a high standard.
While minorities have made significant gains in wealth and home ownership since 1990, "things are going into reverse gear," and now the homeownership rate for blacks and Hispanics is falling, said Edward Wolff, a New York University economist who studies income and wealth distribution.
Nearly 9.5 million households, or nearly one out of every five of the nearly 52 million homeowners with a mortgage, spend 38 percent or more of their pretax income on their mortgage payment, property taxes and insurance, the AP's analysis found.
Now this is only looking at homeowners with a mortgage, so it ignores every homeowner who has paid off his mortgage (a group, I would imagine, that is overwhelmingly white).
That's the new threshold to qualify for the loan assistance program launched last month by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance companies now under government control.Well, at least until they stopped having stable incomes when the Housing Bubble Economy stopped.Â The circularity of the Hispanic Housing Bubble is still not well understood.
Not surprisingly, the most financially burdened are in California, Florida, Nevada and the Northeast, areas hardest hit by soaring home prices and now foreclosures. ...
The AP's analysis reveals the enormous scope of the U.S. housing market bust and how unevenly the burdens are spread, both geographically and demographically. ... The burden is clearly more arduous among minority households, the AP analysis found.
Just under a third of Hispanic homeowners spend at least 38 percent of their income on housing expenses, compared with about a quarter of Asian and black households and nearly 16 percent of white households.
In much of the country, the trend is more pronounced. For example, included among those who spent at least 38 percent of their income on housing are:
About 40 percent of black borrowers in California, Nevada, Oregon and Massachusetts.
More than 30 percent of Asian borrowers in California and Florida.
Nearly half of Hispanic homeowners in Rhode Island and at least 40 percent in Alaska, California, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey and New York.
Many Latino families wound up with expensive subprime mortgages because they often have cash income and no bank account, said Janis Bowdler, associate director for wealth building at National Council of La Raza in Washington.
It is common for Latino families to have stable incomes
but limited credit histories – and hence lower credit scores, which lenders use to gauge risk. Many have multiple sources of income, some of it in cash.Â
And some claim to have multiple sources of cash income that they don't really have. Hey, I've got an idea for how to tell whether these Hispanics applying for big California mortgages are just cheating on their income taxes or whether they're flat broke: Require a decent-sized down payment! Oh, wait, George W. Bush and Angelo Mozila said down payments were discriminatory, denying minorities their fair share of the American Dream.
During the housing boom, consumer advocates say it was both faster and more profitable for mortgage brokers and loan officers to put Hispanic families in loans that didn't require proof of income, but charged higher interest rates.
"They had them out the door in a fraction of the time," Bowdler said. "They were definitely getting more expensive loans."
Now, Hispanic households like the Cazares family of Visalia, Calif are caught up in the mortgage crisis. ...
The AP's analysis also found that education level is highly correlated with income and mortgage expenses. Nearly one in three of those without a high school or college diploma spend at least 38 percent of their income on housing, compared with only 12 percent of those with advanced degrees, the AP analysis found. ...
But they also say that mortgage brokers and lenders took advantage of the elderly, immigrants and the unsophisticated.For decades, the government and most lenders considered homeowners who spent 30 percent or more of their income on housing to be financially strapped.