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Press Release

New Cleveland Fed Report: Home Mortgage Lending by Race and Income in a Time of Low Interest Rates

New analysis of mortgage data in seven large urban counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky finds that growth in home purchase originations was much stronger for Black borrowers than non-Black borrowers between 2018 and 2021. However, the Black homeownership rate remained far below the non-Black rate.

In the report, “Home Mortgage Lending by Race and Income in a Time of Low Interest Rates,” senior community development analyst Matt Klesta examines Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data in seven counties: Allegheny, Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh); Cuyahoga, Ohio (Cleveland); Fayette, Kentucky (Lexington); Franklin, Ohio (Columbus); Hamilton, Ohio (Cincinnati); Lucas, Ohio (Toledo); and Montgomery, Ohio (Dayton). The report focuses on several aspects of mortgage lending categorized by borrower race and income.

The report is an update of a 2018 Cleveland Fed analysis of similar data focusing on how these same counties performed post-Great Recession. The new report revisits those seven counties and examines how they performed during the COVID-19 pandemic and in an environment of record-low interest rates.

Key findings:

  • From 2018 through 2021, growth in home purchase originations was strong among low- and moderate-income (LMI) Black borrowers.
  • In 2021, the Black homeownership rate was 35 percent in the seven counties, an increase of nearly 2 percentage points from 2018. Non-Black homeownership rates remained unchanged at 66 percent. The gap between the two remained wide, at 30.7 percentage points.
  • From 2018 through 2020, refinances increased rapidly, particularly for non-Black homeowners, who saw increases of 248 percent compared to 95 percent for Black homeowners. In 2020 and 2021, that trend flipped, and Black homeowners saw refinances increase at a greater rate than non-Black homeowners (69 percent compared to 7 percent, respectively). This was particularly true for LMI, Black homeowners, whose refinances increased 91 percent.

Read the report: Home Mortgage Lending by Race and Income in a Time of Low Interest Rates: Examples from Select Counties in Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania from 2018 through 2021 (

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that along with the Board of Governors in Washington DC comprise the Federal Reserve System. Part of the US central bank, the Cleveland Fed participates in the formulation of our nation’s monetary policy, supervises banking organizations, provides payment and other services to financial institutions and to the US Treasury, and performs many activities that support Federal Reserve operations System-wide. In addition, the Bank supports the well-being of communities across the Fourth Federal Reserve District through a wide array of research, outreach, and educational activities.

The Cleveland Fed, with branches in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, serves an area that comprises Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Media contact

Doug Campbell,, 513.218.1892