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The 2022 housing market represents a critical inflection point for homebuyers and sellers across the country. In Philadelphia, 2022 marks the first year since 2011 that the number of home purchase mortgage applications and the number of refinance mortgage applications both declined. After a decade of steady growth coming out of the previous housing recession, 2022 potentially signals a new phase in the local housing market – one that will be defined fiscally by higher borrowing costs and higher home prices.

The release of the 2022 HMDA data provides an opportunity to look back at the decade of historically low interest rates that prevailed in the wake of 2008-09 housing market collapse. Findings from analyses of these data point to persistent disparities between different borrowers and neighborhoods throughout the city in terms of their access to mortgages. Black and Hispanic borrowers continue to experience elevated denial rates compared to White borrowers, regardless of their financial qualifications for mortgage credit. And residents in neighborhoods of color and lower income neighborhoods continue to experience elevated denial rates.

Most notably, the patterns of residential sorting observed in the purchasing activity of Black, Hispanic and White borrowers over the past decade point to shifting demographic and economic boundaries across the city. Looking back on this historic period of low interest rates that ended in 2022 provides a window into how the observable inequities in access to mortgage credit for different racial and ethnic groups have impacted racial and ethnic settlement patterns across the city.

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