Racial disparity in home loan rates for Des Moines’ Black applicants

Table of Contents More hoops to jump through for Black applicantsBlack residents fall behind in

When George Floyd was murdered last year by a white Minneapolis police officer, Mena Jones was taking classes to become a real estate agent. 

She took a few days off to join protests, but mentally and physically exhausted, figured she should set her sights on a different way to make change. Her goal? Help Black residents in the Des Moines metro become homeowners. 

“Being a homeowner in this country means so much to your credit, it means so much to the way people see you and look at you,” said Jones, now a Realtor with RE/MAX Concepts in Windsor Heights. “Owning a home is so significant — it just changes the game for you.”

But it turns out there are significant barriers to making her ambition a reality.

First-time home buyer Troysheana Hawkins walks through a home with Realtor Mena Jones on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021, in Des Moines, IA. New data shows that in the Des Moines metro, Black applicants are 2.6 times more likely to be denied a conventional home loan than similarly qualified white applicants.

In the Des Moines/West Des Moines metro, Black applicants are 2.6 times more likely to be denied a conventional home loan than similarly qualified white applicants, according to an analysis of 2019 data released Wednesday by The Markup, a nonprofit newsroom. 

Des Moines has the fifth-greatest likelihood of denial for Black applicants out of 71 U.S. metro areas that The Markup found had statistically significant disparities in home loan approvals. It tied with Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Stockton, California. 

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