Groundbreaking Research Confirms Discriminatory Bias in Appraisals
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 2, 2022
Contact: Izzy Woodruff | 202-898-1661 | firstname.lastname@example.org
NFHA and Leading Advocates Urge Comprehensive Appraisal Reform
Washington, D.C. — The National Fair Housing Alliance® (“NFHA™”) commends Dr. Junia Howell and Dr. Elizabeth Korver-Glenn on their groundbreaking appraisal bias research based on the Uniform Appraisal Dataset (“UAD”), which was released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”) last week and is the most comprehensive set of market appraisals in the nation. Their research was based on an analysis of over 32 million appraisals submitted to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac between 2013 to 2021.
“Using the recently-released Uniform Appraisal Dataset, Dr. Howell and Dr. Korver-Glenn were able to scientifically confirm what we’ve long known: home value inequalities are the result of appraisal practices that place a higher value on homes in predominantly White neighborhoods than on comparable homes in similar communities of color,” said Maureen Yap, NFHA’s Senior Counsel. “Highly discretionary appraisal practices have led to decades of unfair and biased valuations and directly contributed to the persistent racial wealth gap. Appraisal reform is something our nation and communities desperately need. We ask Congress and the Biden Administration to move as quickly as possible to support robust, comprehensive appraisal reform legislation. We also note that FHFA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac have had this dataset for years and should be aware of its implications, so we expect that they are doing everything possible to alleviate the disparate impact of the current appraisal process.”
Based on the Uniform Appraisal Dataset, Dr. Howell and Dr. Korver-Glenn determined that:
- Homes in White neighborhoods are appraised at double the value of comparable homes in communities of color. Comparing similar homes, located in neighborhoods with the same socioeconomic status and comparable amenities, homes in predominantly White neighborhoods are appraised as worth $371,000 more than their counterparts in communities of color. This means the average White family can use their home to leverage over $370,000 more in capital than their counterparts living in a community of color.
- Racial inequality in appraised values has increased 75 percent over the last decade. In 2013, homes in predominantly White neighborhoods were appraised at $213,000 more than comparable homes in similar communities of color. By 2021, this gap had increased to $370,000, a 75 percent increase.
- The pandemic and its associated monetary policy further exacerbated the racial inequality in appraised values. In a mere two years, the average home in predominantly White neighborhoods increased in value $136,000, which is more than twice the appreciation a comparable house in a community of color experienced ($60,000).
- Racial inequality is growing fastest in the hottest housing markets. In just two years, racial inequality in appraised values increased by $91,000 (or 43 percent) in metropolitan areas experiencing the largest home price inflation. This increase in inequality is nearly three times greater than the increase in racial inequality in stable housing markets.
- The difference between White neighborhoods and communities of color is particularly stark for American Indian, Alaska Native, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander communities. In 2021, homes in predominantly White neighborhoods were appraised over three times more valuable than comparable homes in similar American Indian and Alaska Native neighborhoods located within the same metropolitan area. Likewise, homes in predominantly White neighborhoods were appraised three times more valuable than comparable homes in otherwise similar Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander communities.
Earlier this year, NFHA was commissioned by the Appraisal Subcommittee to undertake a groundbreaking study about Appraisal Standards and Appraiser Qualification Criteria, including appraisal bias. In the study, NFHA documented systemic challenges that drive appraisal bias and provided recommendations to overhaul the appraisal process and governance to address discrimination and inequities. Many of those recommendations were included in the Interagency Task Force on Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity (PAVE)’s Action Plan. Recently, NFHA and leading civil rights and consumer advocates issued a letter to Congress and the Biden Administration strongly urging them to enact meaningful appraisal reform in six key areas: governance, barriers to entry to the appraisal profession, fair housing training for appraisers, appraisal standards, accountability and enforcement, and home valuation data and research.
The letter was issued jointly by the following organizations:
- National Fair Housing Alliance
- Americans for Financial Reform
- Asian American Real Estate Association of America (AREAA)
- Center for Community Progress
- Center for Responsible Lending
- Consumer Action
- Disability Rights Advocates
- Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
- Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
- The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
- NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF)
- National Action Network
- National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB)
- National Association of Real Estate Brokers, Inc.
- National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (CAPACD)
- National Coalition for the Homeless
- National Community Reinvestment Coalition
- National Consumer Law Center, on behalf of its low-income clients
- National Disability Rights Network (NDRN)
- National Housing Law Project
- National Housing Resource Center
- National Urban League
- National Women’s Law Center
- Prosperity Now
- Reinvestment Fund
- True Colors United
- Woodstock Institute
The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) is the country’s only national civil rights organization dedicated solely to eliminating all forms of housing and lending discrimination and ensuring equal opportunities for all people. As the trade association for over 170 fair housing and justice-centered organizations and individuals throughout the U.S. and its territories, NFHA works to dismantle longstanding barriers to equity and build diverse, inclusive, well-resourced communities.