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HUD Secretary Fudge Commits to End Appraisal Bias and Create Housing Opportunities 

Gaby M. Rojas

The National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) agreed to work with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to address appraisal bias and discrimination through education, outreach, and other activities.

“HUD and NAREB will work together to fight appraisal bias in the Black community,” says Secretary Marcia L. Fudge to attendees at NAREB’s annual convention.

“I live in a Black neighborhood by choice; my home is bigger, my lot is bigger, yet my home is valued less than the White neighborhood down the block; this must change,” she states. passionately drawing from her experiences.  Secretary Fudge adds that the commitment to tackling appraisal bias reflects the administration’s dedication to promoting fairness in housing valuations and bringing equity to all communities.

“I am proud that NAREB will be participating in this unprecedented collaboration that will be critical to increasing Black wealth and increasing homeownership for Black families,” says Lydia Pope, the outgoing NAREB president, who has been a strong advocate for legislative and regulatory changes that can create more homeownership opportunities for Blacks.  

Specifically, the agreement with HUD cites several collaborative actions in the fiscal year 2024, which begins October 1, 2023:

  • Online training opportunities for housing counselors to understand racial appraisal bias in home property valuation. The training sessions will include strategy discussions to combat appraisal bias, best practices for housing counselors to help clients impacted, and available resources to support housing counselors and their clients.
  • Roundtable discussions at regional HUD Office of Housing Counseling (OHC) meetings around the country to help stakeholders and homeowners better understand appraisal bias in specific geographic areas; build public-private partnerships to combat appraisal bias; and share best practices for housing counselors to help impacted families.
  • NAREB, and other industry stakeholders, will assist OHC in developing and distributing educational materials to combat appraisal bias.
  • The National Fair Housing Training Academy will partner with NAREB to train its Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) and Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) participants on appraisal-related matters.

Secretary Fudge’s presence was particularly significant as she shares hometown roots with NAREB President Pope, both hailing from Cleveland, OH.

During her speech, Secretary Fudge expressed admiration for Pope, describing her as “not only a phenomenal leader but her homegirl.” This heartfelt connection exemplifies the strong ties that unite professionals in their pursuit of advancing equity in the real estate industry.

Secretary Fudge fired up the audience with her powerful commitment to addressing racial disparities in housing for marginalized communities. “There’s a new sheriff in town, and her administration is committed to ensuring they make a difference in the lives of Black and Brown people.” Further, she stated, “I am doing MY JOB!” leaving no doubt about her dedication to the mission.

Addressing credit challenges faced by Black borrowers, Secretary Fudge declared, “Some Black borrowers lack credit, but now when obtaining an FHA loan, rental history can be used as a credit history.” This policy change aims to expand access to credit and homeownership opportunities for individuals with limited credit history.

Secretary Fudge highlighted the significance of homeownership in building wealth: “We cannot deal with inflation until we deal with the housing crisis. Most of us build wealth through homeownership.” This statement underscores the Biden administration’s focus on addressing the housing crisis to tackle broader economic challenges.

She noted that policymakers have advised young people that they don’t need to own a home. Secretary Fudge questioned, “Who told them that foolishness?” She implored the Black real estate agents and brokers, “We need to help get them in homes, so we need your advocacy.”

In closing, Secretary Fudge left the audience with a powerful call to action, “Stay Encouraged, Stay Vigilant, WE NEED YOU. Thank You!” Her words were a rallying cry for real estate professionals to unite and drive positive change in the industry.

“Secretary Fudge’s address impacted the NAREB convention attendees, motivating them to embrace the challenges ahead and work together toward creating a more equitable and inclusive housing landscape,” says Pope.

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