Homeownership rates for many minority groups continues to be well below that of whites, and discriminatory policies are often blamed for that. During National Fair Housing Month in April, many housing groups and organizations are bringing the racial housing gap to the forefront and asking others in the real estate industry to support programs that seek to make a change.
Realtor.com® announced it is teaming with the Homeownership Council of America to donate the first $100,000 to the new Equity Down Payment Assistance Fund, for people of color and low- to moderate-income buyers. Realtor.com® says it will match every donation by HCA’s Equity DPA fund through June 30, up to $100,000. It’s asking leaders in the real estate industry to donate to HCA’s Equity DPA fund to help minorities and low- to moderate-income consumers afford down payments and closing costs.
“Survey data shows having enough for a down payment is one of the largest barriers to homeownership and, with this fund, we can directly help people break through to start building generational wealth,” says Mickey Neuberger, chief marketing officer for Realtor.com®.
The homeownership rate for Blacks is 43.1%, 48.4% for Hispanics, and 61.2% for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The ownership rate for Whites is 74.4%, realtor.com® says.
“We believe it’s our responsibility to not only address [the] disparity in homeownership but bring others alongside to take up the challenge,” Neuberger says. “As a company, we strive to make a positive impact on fair housing issues, but as an industry, we have the power to eliminate it.”
Realtor.com® has launched its Closing the Gap Challenge focused on increasing the homeownership rate of racial minorities. Other initiatives in the program include a new down payment assistance search tool where consumers can see if they’re eligible for programs, a down payment assistance guide, and a free First-Time Homebuying 101 e-book offered in both English and Spanish, among other programs.