NAR Stresses Commitment to Racial Equity in Federal COVID-19 Relief Measures

WASHINGTON (July 23, 2020) – The National Association of Realtors® wrote to House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters and Ranking Member Patrick McHenry this week, relaying its commitment to ensure all Americans benefit equally from federal COVID-19 recovery provisions. 

“Following the Great Recession, people of color did not experience the same economic recovery as White Americans, [and] Black homeownership rates fell to levels not seen since the passage of the Fair Housing Act,” NAR President Vince Malta, broker at Malta & Co., Inc., in San Francisco, CA, wrote. “If action is not taken now, we fear that history will repeat itself and the racial wealth gap will widen and threaten the overall prosperity of our nation.”

An examination of inequality in America, NAR contends, reveals that the racial wealth gap is primarily a housing wealth gap, with lower homeownership rates leaving an impact on minority communities that can last generations. African Americans lost nearly $200 billion in wealth between 2009 and 2012, largely due to homeownership losses.

In 2019, NAR worked with the Urban Institute and the National Association of Real Estate Brokers 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. 

“Building the future begins with equal access to housing and opportunity for all,” Malta concluded. “All Americans deserve to reap these benefits that extend beyond housing – helping families afford higher education and transferring wealth to later generations. Let’s work together to make the American Dream work for everyone.”

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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