January 5, 2022

Report finds mortgage lending disparities persist in Indianapolis

Pixabay/public domain

Pixabay/public domain

A new report on mortgage lending trends in Indianapolis found a decline in opportunity for some.

Marion County’s overall homeownership rate dipped to 54 percent, lower than the national and state averages. The rate of white homeowners has remained steady at around 65 percent for decades. But, for Black families, the rate is 34 percent, and it's 39 percent for Hispanic families.

Black homeownership in Marion County is down 20 percent in Marion County over the past decade.

Amy Nelson, executive director of the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, said the report points to continued community lending disparities, including loan denial and bank branch closures that hamper families of color.

“We have made virtually no inroads in addressing the discrimination that had occurred and you can see that in the homeownership rates,” Nelson said.

The assessment took a deeper look at the practices of the top 50 lenders, exploring the number of applications and interest rates.

Nelson said it found some in Marion County are working towards equal lending.

“We also have lenders who are performing far below their peers in the county," Nelson said. "Would just try and encourage those lenders to do more to figure why their data is what it is and do more to try and address it."

The number of mortgage applications is at its highest since the Great Recession in 2009, but other factors – including rising prices – influence access.

There’s an overall increase in housing units in Marion County but nearly 10,000 fewer owner-occupied housing units. This trend could be influenced as older housing stock is flipped and sold for higher prices.

Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at jsheridan@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @JillASheridan.

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