HUD Secretary tackles appraisal bias with NAREB partnership

Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Marcia Fudge “fired up” the crowd during her keynote speech at the 2023 National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) Annual Conference when she spoke about the recently-announced HUD-NAREB partnership designed to tackle appraisal bias.

“HUD and NAREB will work together to fight appraisal bias in the Black community,” Fudge said. “I live in a Black neighborhood by choice; my home is bigger, my lot is bigger, yet my home is valued less than the white neighborhood down the block; this must change.”

In an announcement, NAREB described Fudge’s speech as a “dynamic and inspirational address that ignited passion and commitment among attendees at NAREB’s annual convention.”

Fudge and NAREB President Lydia Pope both hail from the Cleveland, Ohio area. Fudge praised Pope’s work as the association’s leader during her speech. Fudge also addressed her commitment as HUD Secretary in addressing disparities for marginalized communities.

Fudge also addressed the access to credit for borrowers of color, and discussed the work HUD and the Biden administration are doing to address the role homeownership plays in building generational wealth, a common point of discussion for HUD under her leadership thus far.

“Some Black borrowers lack credit, but now when obtaining an FHA loan, rental history can be used as a credit history,” she said, touching on recent policy changes at HUD and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) that considers on-time rent payments as a part of a potential borrower’s credit history.

In terms of the role homeownership takes in building wealth for families, Fudge reiterated her belief in forging a more direct path to homeownership. “We cannot deal with inflation until we deal with the housing crisis,” she said. “Most of us build wealth through homeownership.”

Fudge also admonished certain policymakers for telling younger people that they don’t need to own a home.

“Who told them that foolishness?,” she reportedly asked rhetorically. “We need to help get them in homes, so we need your advocacy. […] Stay encouraged, stay vigilant, We need you. Thank you,” she concluded.