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Through the Roof: Price of houses are widening the gap of racial inequities in housing

Experts believe people who live in lower income neighborhoods are trapped if they want to move

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Looking to buy a house? The cost of getting a home continues to rise. 

In Duval County, there's been an upward trend for 56 months, straight. 

Experts believe the rate will only continue to rise which presents a challenge for potential first time home-buyers and single families. Especially for people of color. 

The price of buying a house in Duval County is so high, Dr. Irvin Cohen, LISC Jacksonville, said it keeps him up at night. 

"Owning a home is your first step into the great American experience, [it] will no longer be attainable for many of those folks," Dr. Cohen said. 

Cohen is the executive director of LISC Jacksonville; his work involves creating economic opportunities for residents who live in "challenged neighborhoods." 

He speculates the housing market will affect people of color, especially women. 

"Those people who are moving from public housing - they're going to be in trouble," Dr. Cohen added. "In some of our most challenged neighborhoods, rents are at $1,700 - $1,500. I think that's unconscionable. The fact that you know, you can, some houses are being sold at $200,000."

As of Friday, data from Realtor.Com showcased how many more people are looking to buy a house than there are homes available in Jacksonville. It also presented the median home price at $279,000. 

The value of a house in Jacksonville increased nearly 30% over the past year, as reported by Zillow

To Dr. Cohen, families who are trying to escape lower income neighborhoods are trapped. 

"Salaries are not increasing at the rate of 25%," Cohen added. "I think we have to look at now how do we help people maintain their sheltering in place?" 

Dr. Cohen suggested city officials work on creating policies that address the on-going struggle in the housing market.

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