Wichita ranks ninth on a list of the U.S. cities with the highest Asian American homeownership rates, according to a new report published last week by Today’s Homeowner, a home improvement website.
In Wichita, the Asian American homeownership rate is 65.3%, which is nearly 7 percentage points higher than the overall Wichita homeownership rate of 58.4%, according to the report, which compared Census Bureau data on the number of Asian American homeowners against the number of Asian American households in the 50 largest U.S. cities.
That also positions Wichita higher than the national average, which hit a record-high 61.6%.
In celebration and recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, Today’s Homeowner says the ranking may offer insight for an Asian American family deciding where to buy a home.
The top 10 cities for Asian American homeownership rates, according to the findings:
- Virginia Beach: 79.6%
- Arlington, Texas: 76.6%
- Oklahoma City: 76.0%
- Colorado Springs: 75.1%
- Mesa, Ariz.: 72.3%
- Indianapolis: 71.5%
- Jacksonville, Fla.: 71.4%
- Bakersfield, Calif.: 69.9%
- Wichita: 65.3%
- Las Vegas: 64.1%
Cities with the lowest rates include Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Tucson, Ariz., and Washington, D.C.
Overall, Asian Americans — considered the second-fastest growing demographic in the U.S. — have experienced a 5% increase in homeownership rate in the last decade, according to a recent report from the National Association of Realtors.
In Wichita, the AAPI population represented about 6% of the total population in 2020, according to Census data.
“There is a strong history of individuals from the AAPI community who immigrated to Wichita during the beginning stages of the city itself,” said Taben Azad, who is president of the Wichita Asian Association, in an email. “Large waves of Asian Americans from East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East arrived in Wichita in the late 1800s-early 1900s, and so the identity of Wichita itself revolves around immigrants being able to call this city their home.”
Azad says Wichita is an attractive place for Asian Americans to own a home because of a combination of historically low mortgage rates, affordable housing and a high standard of living in comparison to several other big cities.
“That and of course, there are decent population sizes of the Vietnamese, Filipino, Lebanese, and Indian communities,” he said. “It doesn’t hurt that there is an increase in small businesses owners that are Asian American.
But barriers continue to remain nationwide for Asian Americans looking to buy a home.
“Asian homeowners are more squeezed than their white counterparts,” said Nadia Evangelou, senior economist and director of real estate research for NAR, in the Today’s Homeowner report. “Twenty-six percent of Asian homeowners are cost-burdened — spend more than 30% of their income on housing — compared to 20% of white homeowners. Although Asian homeowners earn a higher income than white owners, Asian owners tend to live in high-cost areas where housing is more expensive.”
Locally, Azad said in his role with the Wichita Asian Association and interacting with different communities that he’s noticed language barriers and multigenerational living can also result in higher housing costs for the AAPI community.
“With more AAPIs becoming citizens in the country, they’re more likely to stay in the country and drive the homeownership rate up higher,” he said. “With companies that are coming to the city or current companies that are expanding, there’s even more potential for Wichita to attract and retain AAPI’s into living in the community.”
To determine homeownership rates in the 50 largest cities, Today’s Homeowner divided the number of Asian American homeowners by the number of Asian American households, including both homeowners and renters, to calculate the homeownership rate.
That data sets stem from the Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey, which does not report on estimates on the number of Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders homeowners for most cities.