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New federal proposal aims to stop racial bias in formulas used to value homes

by Michael Nguyen
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racial bias in home valuation

New Federal Proposal Aims to Stop Racial Bias in Home Valuation Formulas

Vice President Kamala Harris announces federal efforts to combat racial discrimination in home appraisals by proposing a new rule to ensure fairness in automated valuation formulas.

Closing the Wealth Gap and Ensuring Equal Opportunities

The proposed rule aims to address the systemic undervaluation of homes belonging to Black people and other underrepresented groups. By combating low appraisals, the goal is to enable homeowners to build wealth and access home equity lines of credit, thereby reducing racial inequality.

Appraiser Discrimination: Impact and Examples

The extent of discrimination by appraisers can be substantial, with some instances resulting in property values being slashed by over 50%. A Black homeowner in Indianapolis experienced a significant increase in her home’s appraised value, from $125,000 to $259,000, after removing indications of her race and heritage from the property.

Ensuring Fairness in Valuation Processes

To prevent discrimination, the proposed rule targets financial institutions and mortgage companies that use valuation formulas to assess home values. These companies would be required to adopt new policies aimed at improving appraisal accuracy, preventing data manipulation, and avoiding conflicts of interest.

Seeking Public Input and Transparency

The proposed rule will undergo a 60-day comment period to gather input from stakeholders. Additionally, the Biden administration is implementing measures to make it easier for homebuyers to contest appraisal bias and increasing transparency by providing more data to the public. Efforts are also being made to facilitate the entry of individuals from underrepresented groups into the appraisal profession.

Establishing the Interagency Task Force on Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity (PAVE)

In June 2021, President Joe Biden established the Interagency Task Force on Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity (PAVE) to tackle bias in appraisals. This task force plays a crucial role in addressing the challenges associated with racial discrimination in property valuation.

What is the purpose of the proposed federal rule to stop racial bias in home valuation formulas?

The purpose of the proposed federal rule is to address and combat racial discrimination in home appraisals. It aims to ensure fairness in the automated formulas used to determine home values, particularly by targeting the systemic undervaluation of homes belonging to Black people and other underrepresented groups. The goal is to reduce racial inequality, enable homeowners to build wealth, and provide equal access to home equity lines of credit.

How does appraiser discrimination impact home values?

Appraiser discrimination can have a significant impact on home values. In some cases, it can lead to properties being undervalued by more than 50%. This results in homeowners, especially those from underrepresented groups, facing challenges in building wealth and accessing financial resources. Low appraisals can make it harder to secure mortgages and obtain favorable terms, exacerbating racial disparities in homeownership and contributing to the wealth gap.

What measures will be implemented to prevent discrimination in home appraisals?

The proposed rule sets out new standards to prevent discrimination in home appraisals. Financial institutions and mortgage companies that rely on appraisals would be required to adopt policies aimed at improving accuracy, preventing data manipulation, and avoiding conflicts of interest. These measures seek to ensure fair and unbiased appraisal practices, promoting equal opportunities for all homeowners.

How will the Biden administration increase transparency in home appraisals?

The Biden administration is taking steps to increase transparency in home appraisals. By providing more data to the public, they aim to shed light on the appraisal process and make it easier for homebuyers to identify and contest any racial bias in appraisals. Increased transparency helps create accountability and allows for a more informed and fair evaluation of home values.

What is the Interagency Task Force on Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity (PAVE)?

The Interagency Task Force on Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity (PAVE) was established by President Joe Biden in June 2021. PAVE’s primary objective is to address bias in appraisals and ensure equity in property valuation. It plays a crucial role in coordinating efforts across federal agencies to tackle racial discrimination in home appraisals and promote fair and just valuation practices. PAVE aims to bridge the gap in property appraisal equity and create a more inclusive housing market.

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