Realtor discusses lack of minority home ownership in Madison

Generational wealth has played a huge role throughout the past several decades

MADISON, Wis. — For the seventh year in a row, Madison’s housing prices have gone up, putting the average price of a home at more than $315,000.

Carlos Alvarado is the owner of the Madison-based Alvarado Real Estate Group and has been selling homes for the past 14 years. Alvarado said even though he’s seen Madison’s housing market prices increase, it doesn’t make selling homes any harder. In fact, he said, it’s the opposite; at least when it comes to selling homes to white people.

During an interview with News 3 Now, Alvarado discussed how redlining has played a role in helping white families attain generational wealth, making it more difficult for people of color to access the American Dream. He said black people “who helped build the country have no access to that dream.”

Alvarado said when he had multiple offers on a recent home for sale it was clear to him that there were some financing contingencies and how many white buyers have access to larger down payments and more conventional financing.

Alvarado said Madison’s housing market is competitive, which is why prices keep increasing every year. He said he sees people of color get out-priced on a home to White people who have the benefit of their family’s financial help.

“It’s a huge problem,” he said.

Alvarado said he tries to help people of color get into a home when possible. He said being a person of color himself helps him see where white privilege comes into play. In buying his first home, Alvarado and his wife were able to get a loan because her father co-signed, and he wouldn’t have had access to that on his own. He said this is an example of the different ways generational wealth comes into play.

“I can tell you that I benefit from the whiteness,” he said. “That’s a conversation I have with my wife. When we moved here in 2000, we rented an apartment. The next year, we were able to buy a house with no credit history. My wife didn’t have credit at that time. But because of her privilege of being white and having that generational wealth and knowledge from her dad, we were able to buy a house within a year.”

Alvarado said that out of the total percentage of homes he sells, only 3% are sold to people of color.

“The percentage is low and barriers are high,” Alvarado said.

Alvarado believes that if realtors and community members work to address the systemic issues that cause racial disparities in our society, “If we can change that a little bit, those numbers should look different.”