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For Sale sign in front of a house. Source: Shutterstock.

In Los Angeles, $80,000 is a 10% down payment on the county’s median priced home. In Winston-Salem, N.C., it buys a condominium or a fixer-upper in East Winston, the historically Black area east of Route 52.

Inexpensive properties like the ones in East Winston could serve as starter homes for people on their way up the housing ladder. They could provide a way to build family wealth from modest incomes. But they don’t.

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