10 Key Takeaways from Homeownership Success in West Dallas
West Dallas enjoys high home ownership rates in most of its neighborhoods. The collective muscle that was built helped the community thrive in an area that a US government-sponsored agency in the 1930s subjected to racist redlining.
The homeownership rate is almost at the national rate of 65% – when two census tracts with public housing and new luxury apartments are excluded. Nine out of ten residents of West Dallas are Latino or Black. Nationally, homeownership rates were 48% for Latinos and about 44% for black residents in 2021, according to the most recent data from the Census Bureau.
“People tend to think of West Dallas as just plans, and it never has been,” said Paula Hutchison, owner and member of neighborhood advocacy group West Dallas 1. between us have had poor lives and others of us have had all our needs met.Our modest little house may not seem like much to others, but it offered every comfort, security and nurturing necessary to live a full life and be a good, upstanding citizen and grow and raise families.
What drove homeownership rates up?
- Modest and cheap houses.
- Loans were easier to get when houses were much cheaper.
- Redlining which declared the area less desirable actually made it easier for Latinos, Blacks and Mexican immigrants to buy homes in West Dallas. It was one of the few options. In 1968, the Fair Housing Act made these practices illegal.
- Residents say families have banded together to self-finance home purchases.
- After World War II, returning veterans took advantage of GI loans with more favorable terms in this isolated area.
- Neighborhood associations full of homeowners gave voice to fights for change such as paved streets, proper drainage, better schools and improved policing. This made the area more attractive to the working class.
- Squeak. Is a characteristic like determination or courage measurable? Activists and experts say that keeps coming up as a reason for the success of neighborhoods here in improving services over the decades.
What are the threats to West Dallas’ continued success?
- Pollution, an old threat, remains one. A more organized community of neighborhood groups means more scrutiny of pollution in the midsection of West Dallas, where there is a large cluster of factories that need environmental permits.
- Gentrification means that developers regularly offer to buy property. There can be high homeownership rates in places like La Bajada on the eastern fringe of West Dallas and Ledbetter on the western fringe. But the allure of big stacks of dollars may change that.
- Property taxes are skyrocketing. A Dallas Morning News analysis of census data found that from 2010 to 2019 property taxes doubled. Residents say property taxes have continued to climb over the past two years.