Worcester Business Journal

WRRB-WBJ Digital Supplement

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4 Worcester Business Journal | May 24, 2021 | wbjournal.com Worcester e City of Worcester contains more than 78,000 housing units, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Nearly 71,600 are classified as "occupied." Worcester has a vacancy rate of 8.6 percent, below the Massachusetts rate of 9.4 percent (calculated from the 2.07 million housing units statewide). Worcester's homeowner vacancy rate is 1.6 percent and its rental vacancy rate is 3.4 percent Around 68 percent of owner-occupied units in Worcester have a mortgage, per Census data, while 32 percent do not. Various quality of life metrics follow Achieving the American dream Map 1: Race of Householder for Owner-Occupied Units - Percent White Introduction e American Dream is a nebulous concept—success looks like different things to different people. But one rela- tive constant is the concept of homeown- ership. Owning one's place of residence is a long-term goal for many Americans, especially those who have experienced high or rising rents. Homeowners have more stable housing situations, and build equity in an asset they can use to ensure financial safety late in life. Cities and towns also prize homeownership, as those with a monetary investment in their community are generally more civi- cally involved than transient members of the population. But not everyone succeeds in reaching a life stage where owning their own home is an option. While it is a more financially sound decision over time, homeownership requires a large upfront investment that many individuals and families cannot afford. Disparities across racial and ethnic lines persist, shutting diverse communities out of homeownership opportunities. People of color have less success procuring mortgages—the main means by which Americans purchase homes— than wealthier white residents. ese disparities have an effect geographically. Larger cities oen attract more diverse populations, leading to larger concentrations of homeowners of color. However, neighborhood-by-neighborhood differences can lead to, effectively, segregated communities. Oen, overwhelmingly white parts of town are that way not through chance or personal preference, but due to long-standing disparities in housing availability. Neighborhoods also differ in health, income and education metrics, all of which can be reflected in homeownership statistics. is report uses Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data in combination with U.S. Census Bureau statistics and other sources to paint a picture of Worcester and other Central Massachusetts communities through the lens of homeownership. Map 2: Percent of originated mortgages going to white homeowners, 2019 Chart 1: Percent of originated mortgages going to white homeowners, 2019 racial lines, especially when it comes to owning versus renting. e top 10 Worcester census tracts by income— which average 112 percent of the median income for the wider metropol- itan statistical area (MSA)–have head of household populations that are, on average, 88 percent white, and home- owner populations that are 90 percent white. e bottom 10 tracts—which average 33 percent of the MSA's median income—are 64 percent white, on aver- age, with homeowner populations that are 65 percent white, on average. Renter populations are slightly more diverse— the top 10 tracts have an average of 83 percent white renters, while the bottom 10 average 64 percent. Education level follows similar patterns. In the top 10 tracts by income, nearly half of household heads have a bachelor's degree or higher. In the bot- tom 10 tracts, that rate is 18 percent. e U.S. Census Bureau uses a few metrics to measure the relative cost of housing for both renters and homeowners. For owners, the Census tracks Selected Monthly Owner Costs as a Percentage of Household Income, under the acronym SMOCAPI. is encompasses a variety of expenses re- lated to homeownership, including any W Disparities in Worcester Homeownership

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