Biden Administration Unveils Plan to Tackle Racial Bias in Housing

On March 23rd, Vice President Kamala Harris announced a plan to respond to racial bias and discrimination in home valuations. The plan was the product of the Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity (PAVE) task force, which was created by executive order on June 1, 2021, the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Riots. The PAVE task force was co-chaired by HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge and Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice and engaged a team from 13 federal agencies.

Recent reports have shown that Black and Brown homeowners are impacted by racially biased home valuations.  A study from Freddie Mac found that the percentage of undervalued appraisals in majority Black and Latino neighborhoods increased as the white population decreased. The PAVE report found that homes in majority Black communities were valued on average at less than half of homes in largely white neighborhoods. The consequence of these lower valuations has been significant for families of color, who have lost substantial wealth as a result.

The task force highlighted five areas of action:

  • Strengthen the guardrails against unlawful discrimination in the residential valuation process
  • Enhance fair housing/fair lending enforcement to ensure industry accountability
  • Build a well-trained, accessible, and diverse appraiser workforce
  • Empower consumers to take action
  • Create a stronger set of data to study and monitor bias in the appraisal valuation process

Not all work was completed during the six-month process, so the task force agencies are planning on continuing to work together on policy solutions, to monitor progress, and to seek opportunities for partnership.