Building Black Intergenerational Wealth Through Estate Planning – Next City

Black homeownership in New York City is on the decline. A new program aims to protect Black intergenerational wealth through estate planning services.

Homeownership is one of the biggest wealth generators in the United States – but not for Black families.

The Center for NYC Neighborhoods is looking to change that pattern through a pilot program called Generation 2 Generation, focused on Black households in Central Brooklyn and North Bronx. Launched in October as part of the Center’s Black Homeownership Project, it focuses on helping Black homeowners and their families retain and build intergenerational wealth through a combination of education and free estate planning services, aided by local community partners.

“For far too long, a legacy of racist housing practices has made it impossible for many Black families in the city to tap into the equity-building, cross-generational benefits of homeownership,” says Christie Peale, who heads the Center for NYC Neighborhoods. “Inheriting a home does not automatically lead to sustained homeownership — systems must be in place to protect it.”

A study published last year by the Center for NYC Neighborhoods and funded by JP Morgan Chase found that, in addition to paying higher closing costs (on average, Black homebuyers pay $7,000 more in closing costs) and higher interest rates than White home buyers, the overall share of Black homeowner households in the city has sharply declined in the past 20 years.

Put simply, inheriting a house often does not lead to sustained homeownership for many Black families in New York City.

“Our research and conversations with Black homeowners, landlords, brokers, real estate professionals have shown that the loss of Black homeowners is due to existing structural, racial and intentional discriminatory housing practices and policies that have worked to strip Black households of intergenerational wealth,” says Sabrina Bazille, Senior Program Manager for the Black Homeownership Project.

These systemic inequities, exacerbated through the pandemic, include ongoing discriminatory mortgage lending practices and predatory tax liens, water bills and other charges against homeowners. “These disproportionately occur in Black neighborhoods and allow private investors to profit and target the financial struggles of Black homeowners,” Bazille says.</…….