These articles feature the work of NAR experts, top media outlets, investigative journalists and civil rights scholars. They’ll help you deepen your understanding of fair housing in less time than it takes to read an entire book.
2022 Snapshot of Race and Home Buying in America (NAR Research, Feb. 23, 2022)
This report looks at homeownership trends, mortgage market and affordability by race, and home buyer demographics from the 2021 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, home buyers and fair housing.
More Than a Home, A Place to Thrive (REALTOR® Magazine, Jan. 31, 2022)
Writing for National Geographic magazine’s October issue, ESPN senior writer Michael Fletcher documented the storied history the St. Albans, Queens, the New York neighborhood where he grew up. St. Albans, a long-time bastion of Black homeownership, exemplifies the ups and downs of America’s fair housing struggle, says National Association of REALTORS® Vice President of Policy Advocacy Bryan Greene, who also grew up in St. Albans and was interviewed for the article.
Closing the Racial Homeownership Gap Must Be Part of Our Long-Term COVID Response (Newsweek, Dec. 9, 2021)
As Congress advances the biggest housing investments in decades and the Biden administration focuses more attention on housing issues, one policy matter should top the agenda: closing the racial homeownership gap. This persistent disparity not only limits the opportunity for individuals and families to build wealth; it also deprives our nation the opportunity for more robust economic growth.
The National Association of Realtors Is Sorry About All the Discrimination (Bloomberg.com, Dec. 21, 2021)
Charlie Oppler, president of the National Association of Realtors and chief executive officer of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty, with 15 offices in northern and central New Jersey, was speaking at a diversity and inclusion summit, an occasion marked with a mea culpa—and not a small one. The NAR, America’s largest trade group, issued a formal apology for decades of racist policy that excluded non-White people from owning homes.
Duane "Yellow Feather" Shepard stands at the top of a narrow park that slopes downward toward a lifeguard training center and panoramic views of the Pacific coast. "We're looking over the horizon at a beautiful, beautiful ocean," Shepard says. "It's blue, serene — it's quiet. It's just a gorgeous, gorgeous view." For Shepard, this oceanfront park known as Bruce's Beach — located in Manhattan Beach, Calif., just south of Los Angeles — holds a painful history. "This is the land that our family used to own," he says. Shepard's ancestors, an African American couple named Charles and Willa Bruce, owned this land a century ago.
Black Americans And The Racist Architecture Of Homeownership (NPR, May 8, 2021)
Last summer, DonnaLee Norrington had a dream about owning a home. Not the figurative kind, but a literal dream, as she slept in the rental studio apartment in South Los Angeles that she was sharing with a friend. At around 2 a.m., Norrington remembers, "God said to me, 'Why don't you get a mortgage that doesn't move?' And in my head I knew that meant a fixed mortgage." The very next morning — she made an appointment with Mark Alston, a local mortgage broker well known in the South LA Black community, to inquire about purchasing her very own home for the first time.
Repairers of the Breach (REALTOR® Magazine, March 2021)
Homeownership is the largest single contributor to intergenerational wealth for American families. But it has not been accessible to all Americans on equal terms. More than a half-century after passage of the federal Fair Housing Act, there remains a 30-percentage-point homeownership gap between white and Black Americans—the same as in 1968, the year the act was adopted. Black Americans own one-tenth the wealth of white Americans, despite earning, on average, about 60% of white Americans’ income.
Separated by Design: Why Affordable Housing Is Built in Areas With High Crime, Few Jobs and Struggling Schools (ProPublica, Nov. 25, 2019)
Connecticut’s approach to affordable housing creates pockets of poverty, where low-income people are locked out of opportunities that are just around the corner. Eighty percent of affordable housing units are sited in communities with high crime, low homeownership rates, little access to working-class jobs and lackluster school performance. For decades, local zoning boards have blocked construction of privately developed duplexes and apartments in higher-income areas, keeping housing segregation firmly in place.
When the Dream of Owning a Home Became a Nightmare (The New York Times, Oct. 19, 2019)
The Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968 created policies that let low-income black renters, long excluded from conventional mortgages, become homeowners. But unscrupulous banks, appraisers, and real estate agents abused the program, buying decrepit or condemned housed on the cheap, and quickly flipping them. Bankers signed off on bloated appraisals because Washington absorbed the risk. An unprecedented number of black renters became homeowners, but they were paying more for homes that were older and shoddier than the ones their white peers were buying in the suburbs. The nation’s first program to encourage black homeownership ended in the 1980s with tens of thousands of foreclosures.
Living Apart: How the Government Betrayed a Landmark Civil Rights Law (ProPublica, Jun. 25, 2015)
The authors of the 1968 Fair Housing Act wanted to reverse decades of government-fostered segregation, requiring federal officials to do everything possible to “affirmatively further” fair housing. This odd turn of phrase meant that the law didn’t just ban discrimination; it charged the government to act to bring about “integrated and balanced living patterns,” according to Senator Walter Mondale, a chief sponsor. But, for decades, presidents from both parties declined to enforce a provision of the law that stirred vehement opposition. Part of ProPublica’s Segregation Now series.
Staggering Loss of Black Wealth Due to Subprime Scandal Continues Unabated (The American Prospect, Oct. 13, 2014)
Prince George’s County, Maryland, is home to several of the wealthiest black neighborhoods in America. The home of lawyers, teachers, and government employees, no other majority-black county in the U.S. is comparable in terms of education and income. But during the housing boom of the 2000s, banks targeted African Americans for subprime loans at a stunning rate, including many borrowers who would have qualified for a prime loan. Black homeowners in Prince George’s County watched home values decline precipitously, and faced foreclosure at a higher rate than whites with similar incomes and lifestyles.
The Case for Reparations (The Atlantic, June 2014)
America’s moral and economic debt to African Americans from slavery through the present runs through housing. Practices like redlining, predatory home purchase contract schemes, real estate blockbusting, the denial of benefits to black G.I.s returning from WWII, and the targeting of black homebuyers with subprime mortgages denied African Americans the opportunity to build wealth through homeownership. Many of these practices illegally and immorally drained away wealth that African Americans had already earned.