The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Wednesday announced a new collaboration with the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) designed to increase the housing industry’s awareness of appraisal bias.
The partnership, which will be unveiled “in the coming months” according to HUD, will focus on education, outreach, and other efforts to tackle appraisal bias and discrimination in U.S. housing and home property valuation.
The official launch of the partnership is slated to take place in October, and will include materials including online training for counselors, public roundtable discussions on bias and discrimination, distribution of educational materials and appraisal-related training. Promoting fairness in the housing market is the broader goal, according to HUD.
“Owning a home provides a path to the American dream,” said HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge in the partnership’s announcement. “Yet, Black and Brown people have consistently had their homes under-valued because of racial appraisal bias, locking them out of opportunities to build generational wealth. This partnership is a bold step toward remedying appraisal discrimination, closing the wealth gap, and achieving racial equity.”
NAREB is currently holding its 2023 annual convention in Houston, where Fudge served as keynote speaker for its opening ceremony on Wednesday morning.
HUD offered additional details about the content of the content and materials that will be distributed.
“Specifically, training sessions will include discussion of strategies to combat appraisal bias; best practices for housing counselors to help clients impacted; and available resources that can support housing counselors and their clients,” the announcement said.
In terms of the public roundtables, HUD’s Office of Housing Counseling and National Fair Housing Training Academy will work with NAREB to host regional events nationwide to bring attention to the ways that appraisal bias has impacted certain specific regions of the country, while also intending to build public-private partnerships and share information that can help housing counselors assist affected people.
The Biden administration has made combating bias in housing a key fixture of its policy priorities at HUD and several other agencies. In June, a coalition of federal agencies announced proposed rules that would crack down on the use of automated valuation models (AVMs), with additional comments on the measure added both from the White House and Vice President Kamala Harris specifically.