Closing the Widening Racial Gap in Housing

By MNR News posted 07-12-2021 06:53


illustration of a black family in a photo with a division line down the middleBack in April, NAR and The Memorial Foundation hosted a Facebook Live event, “The Past, Present, and Future of Fair Housing,” which was moderated by Soledad O’Brien and included other industry leaders.

Society faces a pivotal moment in the road to equality. While racial homeownership gaps are stark, they’re expected to only get worse. Over the next 20 years, it’s forecasted that the national homeownership rate will drop 3%, more among African Americans.

Changes to lending and financial systems are necessary now to stem some of the fallout.

Other ideas for advancing equal opportunity in housing include: 

  • Change mortgage broker compensation models so that smaller mortgages aren’t disadvantaged.
  • Build new government programs to leverage alternative credit-scoring data and remove bias in the appraisal process.
  • Use the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act, which is part of President Biden’s infrastructure proposal, to create a federal tax credit that would incentivize the closing of the valuation gap between certain neighborhoods.
  • Create a federally backed down payment assistance program that can more equitably distribute funds and better target consumers who need help.
  • Reinstitute Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing requirements.
  • Bring about more flexible zoning and land use regulations.
  • Set national standards for evictions and foreclosures that enable consumers to keep their homes without more debt accumulation or ruining their credit scores.

Calling for a unified front against discrimination, NAR President Charlie Oppler acknowledged that, despite NAR’s past wrongs regarding housing policy, the association puts fair housing at the top of its priorities today.

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