WASHINGTON (February 7, 2022) – National Association of Realtors® President Leslie Rouda Smith issued the following statement after the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and a coalition of local fair housing organizations reached a $53 million agreement with Fannie Mae to compensate for unequal treatment of real estate owned (REO) properties in Black and Hispanic communities:
"Realtors® applaud this agreement. Fannie Mae coming to the table and agreeing to pay this restitution sends a clear message that the maintenance and marketing of foreclosed homes must be done fairly in all areas. Realtors® have played an increasingly important role in the market for maintaining and marketing REO properties, as bulk sales to investors decline. NAR is committed to supporting local communities and expanding opportunities for homeownership for all Americans, in accordance with our Code of Ethics and the Fair Housing Act."
The fair housing coalition provided evidence that after the subprime crisis caused disproportionate numbers of foreclosures in Black and Latino communities, REOs in Black and Latino areas were allowed to fall into disrepair, while REOs in White neighborhoods were maintained. The case established that marketing and maintenance of REO properties is covered under the Fair Housing Act. It is likely to be followed by others against large lenders who maintained foreclosed properties in communities of color after the subprime crisis.
The agreement provides that $35 million of the settlement amount will be used to address community needs in the affected neighborhoods, including addressing homeownership, access to credit, property rehabilitation, and residential development.
The National Association of Realtors® is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.5 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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