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Homeownership is the key pathway to building wealth and narrowing the racial income and wealth inequality gap. Housing wealth (equity) accumulation takes time and is built up by price appreciation and paying off the mortgage. Homeowners who purchased a typical single-family existing-home 30 years ago at the median sales price of $103,333 with a 10% down payment loan and who sold the property at the median sales price of $357,700 in 2021 Q2 accumulated housing wealth of $349,258, of which 73% is due to price appreciation.
Out of 182 metro areas, there were 21 metro areas with a typical housing wealth gain over a 30-year period of at least $500,000. Eleven of these metro areas are in the West region states of California (San Jose, San Francisco, Anaheim, San Diego), Hawaii (Honolulu), Colorado (Boulder, Denver), Washington and Oregon (Seattle, Portland) , and Nevada (Reno). In the three metro areas ― San Francisco, San Jose, and Anaheim ― the typical housing wealth gain was over $1 million, which was primarily from the price appreciation. Seven metro areas are in the Northeast region states of New York and New Jersey (Nassau County, New York-Newark-Jersey City, Newark, New York-Jersey City-White Plains), Connecticut (Bridgeport), and Massachusetts (Boston, Barnstable), and three in the South region states of Florida (Naples), Texas (Austin) and the Washington DC-Arlington-Alexandria metro area.