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Fair Housing Month 2023: Changes in the Past Year

The White House released a summary of updates that includes the debut of a new webpage where homeowners or buyers who suspect appraiser bias can find help.

WASHINGTON – In 2022, the White House announced it would take steps to ensure any “American who buys a home has the same opportunities to build generational wealth through homeownership.” This year it issued an overview of changes made over the past year.

Last year, the Administration’s Interagency Task Force on Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity (PAVE) – led by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia L. Fudge and White House Domestic Policy Advisor Ambassador Susan Rice – released the PAVE Action Plan.

This year, PAVE says it’s made “critical progress towards fully implementing the Action Plan, including giving consumers a greater awareness of appraisal bias, and supporting a well-trained and dynamic appraiser profession.

One-year changes under the PAVE Task Force

  • Help consumers take action against appraisal bias: In January 2023, HUD published draft guidance to make it easier for borrowers applying for Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured loans to request a Reconsideration of Value (ROV) on a property if they suspect bias in the initial valuation.
  • Funding: HUD awarded $54 million to 182 fair housing organizations that includes $2.9 million to Florida agencies. They money may be used for Eligible activities for appraisal bias testing, enforcement activities and local community education.
  • Appraisal subcommittee: Earlier this year the federal Appraisal Subcommittee held its first-ever hearing dedicated to the topic of appraisal bias.
  • Building a database: In October 2022, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) published the first-ever publicly available datasets – aggregate statistics on appraisal records. Academic researchers have already used the data to analyze the differences in home valuations across racial and ethnic groups.
  • Creating appraiser diversity: Claiming that “unnecessary educational and experience requirements … make it difficult for underrepresented groups to access the profession,” the PAVE group says it strengthened “anti-bias, fair housing and fair lending training of existing appraisers.” In January, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released new guidance for its appraiser workforce. Among other things, it enhances oversight to detect potential discriminatory bias in appraisal reports filed by VA fee panel appraisers.
  • Consumer helpline: The Administration launched Consumers who suspect misvaluations due to racial bias can use the site to learn about their rights and steps they can take to file a discrimination complaint.

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