NAR Urges Racial Equality in Pandemic Relief Measures

July 23, 2020

All Americans need to benefit equally from federal COVID-19 recovery provisions, wrote the National Association of REALTORS® in a letter to House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters and Ranking Member Patrick McHenry. NAR stressed its commitment to racial equity as Congress weighs new relief pandemic stimulus packages.

“Following the Great Recession, people of color did not experience the same economic recovery as White Americans, [and] Black homeownership rates fell to levels not seen since the passage of the Fair Housing Act,” NAR President Vince Malta says. “If action is not taken now, we fear that history will repeat itself and the racial wealth gap will widen and threaten the overall prosperity of our nation.”

During the Great Recession, between 2009 and 2012, African Americans lost nearly $200 billion in wealth, mostly due to homeownership losses, NAR notes in its letter.

NAR says that the racial wealth gap is primarily a housing wealth gap. Minority communities have disproportionately lower rates of homeownership which can last for generations. 

In 2019, NAR worked with the Urban Institute and the National Association of Real Estate Brokers to develop a five-point framework to address the Black homeownership gap. The plan calls on the nation to advance policy solutions at the local level; tackle housing supply constraints and affordability; promote an equitable and accessible housing finance system; further outreach and counseling initiatives for renters and mortgage-ready millennials; and focus on sustainable homeownership and preservation. NAR outlines its specific policy recommendations in its letter to lawmakers.

“Building the future begins with equal access to housing and opportunity for all,” Malta writes in the letter to lawmakers. “All Americans deserve to reap these benefits that extend beyond housing--helping families afford higher education and transferring wealth to later generations. Let’s work together to make the American Dream work for everyone.”