Biden administration unveils plan to fight bias in home appraisals

Vice President Harris speaks during an event with President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to sign an executive order regarding project labor agreements at Irownworks Local 5 in Upper Marlboro, Md., on Friday, February 4, 2022.
Greg Nash

The Biden administration on Wednesday unveiled a plan to fight racial and ethical bias in home appraisals. 

In a statement on Wednesday, the White House said its Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity (PAVE) plan provided steps to improve oversight and accountability on the issue, including the proposal to modernize the governance structure of the appraisal industry and to improve federal enforcement agencies’ coordination and collaboration to better identify and address racial discrimination in-home appraisals. 

The plan will also build on concrete efforts to empower homebuyers and homeowners on effective steps they can take when they receive a valuation that is lower than expected.

The White House cited a September analysis report from mortgage buyer Freddie Mac that found that appraisers are more than likely to undervalue homes in predominantly Black and Latino communities, noting that this type of discrimination widens the racial wealth gap and makes it harder for minority homeowners to enjoy economic success. 

“Because their homes are undervalued — because their homes are undervalued — because, understand, there’s a real consequence — Black and Latino people often have to pay more for their mortgage, receive less when they sell the home, and are less able to access home equity lines of credit,” Vice President Harris said in a statement on Wednesday. 

“This plan outlines a comprehensive set of actions that our administration will take to advance equity in the appraisal process.  The home appraisal workforce is one of the least diverse in our nation.  Less than 5 percent of home appraisers in America are people of color.  This lack of diversity can introduce both conscious and unconscious biases that make home appraisals less accurate and less fair,” she added. 

The PAVE task force was created during the centennial anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre last year and is co-chaired by Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge and domestic policy adviser Susan Rice.

Tags Joe Biden Marcia Fudge Racial discrimination Susan Rice Washignton D.C.

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