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NAR says it’s doing what it can on housing discrimination

The gargantuan San Diego event focused on NAR's role in the homeownership gap

A National Association of Realtors (NAR) committee head recommended Friday that the federal standards governing real estate appraisals loosen up. Namely, appraisers should no longer have to partake in a two-year apprentice program as part of their licensing process.

Francois Gregoire, an appraiser in St. Petersburg, Florida, and head of NAR’s Real Property Valuation Committee, pointed specifically to the apprentice training requirement – no comparable requirement exists for real estate agents – as the reason no one is joining a depleted profession in the crosshairs for allegedly racially biased appraisals.

Gregoire also said his committee is “actively working” with the NAACP and Urban Institute to address biased appraisals that widen the home valuation gap. The longtime appraiser seeks buy-in from the Appraisal Foundation, the Washington D.C. group federally empowered to administer national appraisal standards.

Gregoire’s pointed suggestion came amid a Friday at NAR’s annual conference that took on racism in real estate.

The meeting, physically and virtually, of hundreds of thousands of real estate agents, is an almost overwhelming affair. Taking place in the cavernous San Diego convention center and sprawled out to an adjoining hotel, the conference jams together 200 sessions total.

Topics range from the overlap of blockchain and real estate to mental wellness for real estate professionals. Sessions on matters like “Federal issues in real estate” (more on that shortly) were standing room only affairs, and lines snaked yards for use of convention center escalators.

Still, NAR President Charlie Oppler perhaps set the tone in remarks Friday morning focused upon the racial home ownership gap. White home ownership in the U.S. is about 70%, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures, while the Black homeownership rate is 44% and the Hispanic rate 49%

The trade group leader, who is also president of a Sotheby’s International Realty franchise in New Jersey, noted that last year NAR apologized for the first time in “creating systemic housing discrimination” through the decades-long support of real estate and lending practices such as redlining.

“We were wrong,” Oppler said. “We’ve got to move forward and do things and we are doing that.”

So, what is NAR doing?

This article was originally published by HousingWire. The full article is available on HousingWire.com for HW+ Members.

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