US home ownership jumped at an historic rate in 2020, but a racial gap widened as more Black households were priced out, according to a report released Wednesday.

Low interest rates helped fuel a 1.3 percent rise in home ownership in 2020, the biggest annual increase since the US Census Bureau began tracking the data in 1960, according to a report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

But it showed the persistence of a racial ownership gap in the United States that the report says has actually widened as home prices have soared.

Home ownership of Black Americans was 43.4 percent in 2020, below the 44.2 percent in 2010, although it rose 1.4 percent in 2020 from 2019.

That increase is below that of white and Hispanic households.

"This is the only race/ethnic group whose homeownership rate is lower than 10 years ago," the NAR report said. "As a result the home ownership gap between White and Black households became even larger in 2020."

US home ownership jumped by an unprecedented level in 2020, but a racial gap widened, according to a new report
US home ownership jumped by an unprecedented level in 2020, but a racial gap widened, according to a new report GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA via AFP / JOE RAEDLE

Home prices have soared nearly 30 percent since 2019, which means a typical home is about $80,000 more expensive than before the coronavirus pandemic, a reflection of tight inventories, NAR said.

Among other groups, 72.1 of white households owned homes in 2020, compared with 61.7 percent of Asian households and 51.1 percent of Hispanic households.

The difference in home ownership has been seen as a critical component of the persistent US racial wealth gap highlighted by the Biden administration.

However, legislative efforts to directly address racial inequity have repeatedly faced legal challenges in the Biden years on programs such as restaurant aid and support for farmers.

The NAR report said Black Americans have the highest mortgage denial rates, saying that "low income seems to be the main reason" for the rejections.

But the report also pointed to survey results that nearly half of African-American households were steered away from specific neighborhoods, a similar level to that experienced by Latinos and Asians.

Black and Asian households also said they encountered more strict lending requirements due to discrimination, the NAR report said.