Measure targets disparities in real estate appraisals

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Reps. Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO) and Ritchie Torres (D-NY) recently introduced legislation designed to address the nation’s residential and commercial real estate appraisal industry disparities.

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The Real Estate Valuation Fairness and Improvement Act would establish an interagency task force responsible for reviewing and removing barriers to equitable real estate valuation standards while providing federal grant funding facilitating greater diversity and inclusion in the industry.

“Homeownership has traditionally been the primary way that Americans accumulate wealth,” said Cleaver, who co-chairs the Congressional Black Caucus policy group on Child Poverty, Housing, and Community Reinvestment with Torres.
“High-profile cases of homes owned by people of color being devalued in comparison to homes owned by their white neighbors have renewed calls for federal action. As our nation seeks to Build Back Better from the coronavirus pandemic, we have to do it with the intentionality of supporting communities of color that face disparities in the valuation of their most valuable assets, including those who were unable to attain historically low-interest rates during the pandemic due to appraisal inequalities.”

Torres said while homeownership has long been considered a cornerstone of the American Dream, the lack of strong federal enforcement has prevented communities of color from accumulating wealth through homeownership.

“Passing the Real Estate Valuation Fairness and Improvement Act will directly combat disparities in America’s residential and commercial real estate appraisal industry,” he said. “This type of systemic discrimination must be addressed through legislation in order to ensure a path for Black and Brown Americans to build intergenerational wealth.”

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