NAR’s Virtual Appraisal Summit Examines Intersection of Fair Housing, Appraisal Industry

Recent research shows home valuation processes could be exacerbating racial inequality in America

WASHINGTON (August 6, 2020) – At its annual Appraisal Summit, held Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors® continued to examine ways in which its 1.4 million members can help identify and eliminate racial discrimination from U.S. real estate markets. This year’s summit, Fair Housing Issues in Real Estate Appraisal, was precipitated by recent research suggesting home valuation processes could be influencing the wealth gap between White and Black households in America. 

“It is well documented that homeownership provides long-term wealth while helping to ensure the financial stability of future generations,” NAR President Vince Malta said in his opening remarks Wednesday afternoon. “However, it has become more apparent over recent months that not everyone in this country encounters the same economic and societal opportunities. I believe Realtors® have an obligation to actively promote equality, inclusion and acceptance throughout America’s real estate industry, and it is important to me that NAR act as a leader on the issues of housing equality and affordability.”

NAR and its guests examined recent claims that home valuation processes might play a factor in exacerbating racial inequality in America. Ultimately, panelists agreed that more fair and equitable valuation systems would help increase Black homeownership rates and close the aforementioned wealth gap. 

“Today’s event illustrates an important way that structural barriers can persist in homeownership outcomes,” Michael Neal, senior research associate at the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center, said Wednesday. “These racial disparities can make Black households more vulnerable in the midst of an economic recession.”

Also joining Neal and Malta were Andre Perry, fellow at the Brookings Institute; Elizabeth Peetz, vice president of government affairs for the Colorado Association of Realtors®; and Craig Morley, managing partner at Accurity Valuation/Morley & McConkie. 

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun recently highlighted a number of proposals that could address lingering racial wealth and homeownership gaps, including building more homes to increase supply and make it easier to convert from renting to owning; increasing access to down payment assistance; and expanding alternative credit scoring models to include rent and utility payments, among others.

Along with the Urban Institute and the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, NAR in 2019 also worked to develop a five-point framework to address the Black homeownership gap. Specifically, the plan calls on the nation to (1) advance policy solutions at the local level; (2) tackle housing supply constraints and affordability; (3) promote an equitable and accessible housing finance system; (4) provide further outreach and counseling initiatives for renters and mortgage-ready millennials; and (5) focus on sustainable homeownership and preservation initiatives. 

The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.4 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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