The resilience of black New York homeowners

When Kenyatte Reid, 47, who works for the Department of Education, and Crystal Granderson-Reid, 48, a writer, recently married, they knew...


When Kenyatte Reid, 47, who works for the Department of Education, and Crystal Granderson-Reid, 48, a writer, recently married, they knew they wanted to buy the Brown Stone from Mr. Reid in historic Lefferts Manor in Brooklyn. But their window was closing.

Some of Mr Reid’s family were eager to sell and move south, but the couple needed more time to qualify for a mortgage. Relatives reached a compromise that allowed the couple to rent the house for four years while improving their credit and savings, a luxury many do not receive. They bought the house for less than $ 300,000 in 2003; today it is worth around $ 2.2 million.

“We would never sell it,” said Reid, who dreamed of buying the house his grandparents, one of the first black families to own in the neighborhood, bought in the 1950s.

Mr. Reid comes from a history of owners, stretching back to the black oyster farmers of Sandy Ground on Staten Island, one of the oldest free black settlements in the country, established before the Civil War.

Ms Granderson-Reid’s experience was more common: her mother sold the family estate, a large house on a hill in White Plains, NY, below market value in order to share the proceeds with family members, and she grew up renting. “The cycle has broken,” she said.

Many families are forced to sell because financial barriers make it difficult for one family member to buy out the others. From July 2019 to June 2020, 10% of black applicants in the United States were turned down for mortgages, 2.5 times the rate of white applicants, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors, a large commercial group.

Black borrowers also incur the highest financing fees – nearly $ 14,000, compared to $ 6,000 for white borrowers, who paid the lowest fees on average, according to the Center for NYC Neighborhoods.

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