Kamala Harris Introduces New Rule To Address Racial Discrimination In the Housing Market

On June 1, Vice President Kamala Harris announced a new rule developed by the Biden administration to cease racial and ethnic bias in home valuations for Black and brown homeowners.

According to The White House, the rule will ensure fair algorithms from financial institutions and increase transparency to improve enforcement against appraisal bias. Taking such measures would allow for Black and brown families to have access to the financial returns associated with homeownership and improve the racial wealth gap through homeownership.

“We are also releasing the guidance to make it easier for consumers to appeal what they suspect to be unbiased valuation,” Harris told reporters, according to NBC News. “Millions rely on the equity in their homes to put their children through college, to fund a startup, to retire with dignity, to create intergenerational prosperity and wealth. We also know for generations many people of color have been prevented from taking full advantage of the benefits of homeownership.”

Harris said people of color only account for around 5% of home appraisers. The rule has also been implemented to focus on areas such as giving underrepresented groups a chance to enter the appraisal profession.

“Today’s announcement builds on ongoing efforts by the PAVE (Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity Task) Force to create a more representative and well-trained appraiser workforce,” Harris said. “Earlier this year, the PAVE Task Force issued a letter to the Appraisal Foundation (TAF) urging it to find meaningful solutions to the experience, education, and examination requirements that exceed most industry standards and are not linked to evidence showing how they produce better, more accurate appraisals.”

In March 2022, the Biden-Harris administration released the PAVE Action Plan in an attempt to fully identify and examine offenders of appraisal bias. It was implemented to prevent algorithmic bias in home valuation, empower consumers to act against appraisal bias, examine federal data, and reduce unnecessary barriers regarding entry to the appraiser profession.