The Urban Institute recently investigated how the housing market has changed 50 years after the Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968. As with the recent review of the Kerner Report, the Urban Institute found that things have not changed much.

“Until 1968, landlords could legally refuse to rent to African Americans and other people of color, and homeowners and real estate agents could refuse to show or sell them homes,” wrote Margery Austin Turner in the Institute's report. “Banks could deny mortgage loans based on a homebuyer’s race or a neighborhood’s racial mix. And white communities could pass zoning and land-use restrictions designed to keep people of color out. The federal Fair Housing Act declared these practices illegal, protecting people from discrimination when they are renting or buying a home or applying for a mortgage loan.”

Following the passing of the Fair Housing Act, African American homeownership rose to almost 50 percent … until the dawn of the new millennium.

“From 2000 to 2015, that gain was more than erased as forces within and beyond the housing market aligned to reduce the black homeownership rate to 41.2 percent,” stated Urban Institute researchers.

In 2015, white homeownership rates were about 64 percent. However, in 2015, black homeownership rates unfortunately mirrored the ones back in 1968.

The blatant discrimination may not be present, but discrimination is still prominent, with subtle racism helping to depress black homeownership rates. A 2012 HUD report on housing discrimination found that people of color are not notified of as many available homes and apartments as their white counterparts, are, for instance. 

Neighborhood segregation is also a significant factor in these numbers. 

"A typical white person lives in a neighborhood that is 75 percent white and 8 percent African American, while a typical African American person lives in a neighborhood that is only 35 percent white and 45 percent African American," reads a report from the US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty

Going forward, the Urban Institute stresses the importance of making fair housing a priority for the federal government. The courts have already put such pressure on HUD Secretary Ben Carson.