Habitat for Humanity Chief Strategy Officer Matthew Dunbar joined City Limits reporter David Brand on WBAI’s “City Watch” to discuss policies for increasing opportunities for home buyers in the city.


Adi Talwar

A home for sale in the Morris Park neighborhood of the Bronx.

For the majority of New York City residents, buying a home in the five boroughs—where median home sale prices have reached $773,000—is basically impossible.

Nationwide, nearly two-thirds of Americans own their homes, but here in New York City, less than a third of residents have a deed to their co-ops, condos, houses and brownstones. But even that low number masks significant racial disparities in homeownership: About 41 percent of white New Yorkers own their homes, compared to 27 percent of Black New Yorkers and 16 percent of Latino/Hispanic New Yorkers.

Those statistics may be getting worse: A recent report from the Black Homeownership Project showed that the Black homeownership rate in the city has dropped by 13 percent over the last two decades. The loss of homes was especially fueled by the Great Recession and foreclosure crisis.

Habitat for Humanity Chief Strategy Officer Matthew Dunbar joined City Limits reporter David Brand on WBAI 99.5 FM Sunday to discuss policies for increasing affordable home ownership in the city. Brand and radio partner Jeff Simmons host the weekly, hour-long live public affairs program “City Watch” on WBAI every Sunday at 10 a.m.

“We have a severe supply problem in NYC when it comes to access to affordable home ownership,” Dunbar said. “You’re starting at a disadvantage right there.”

To make things even more challenging, many first-time homebuyers are competing with cash buyers and investors with several structural advantages, like speedier transactions, lower purchase prices and no mortgage recording taxes.

Dunbar has advocated for more state and municipal assistance for low- and middle-income New Yorkers, like legislation to boost the state’s Affordable Housing Corporation and the expansion of Community Land Trusts

Tune-in below to hear Dunbar’s perspective, as well as interviews with New York Times investigative reporter Jan Ransom on the crisis at Rikers Island and New York City soccer historian David Kilpatrick on the influential role the NYC Metro area plays on the U.S. Men’s National Team as they seek a spot in the 2022 World Cup.

City Watch: Oct. 17, 2021