Why there are so few real estate agents of color

HW+Shawneequa Badger
Shawneequa Badger, leads an agent team at Corcoran Living in Oakland

Sudi Hernandez of Cloud 9 Real Estate Group loses leads when a client hears her Cuban accent.

James Dunn of eXp Realty surprised a client with his answer to their question, “You’re white, right?”

Amy Kong of Trust Real Estate hosts open houses where people ask, “Where is the agent?”

These are instances of racism experienced by Hispanic, Black and Asian real estate agents. But they point to something more specific – homebuyers and sellers surprised to interact with a non-white real estate agent.

Just 6% of all of the National Association of Realtors’ 1.4 million members in 2020 identified as Black, despite respondents having the option of identifying with more than one race. Ten percent stated they are Hispanic, and 5% identified as Asian, according to figures provided by the trade group.

That compares to a U.S. population that is 13% Black, 18% Hispanic and 6% Asian, according to the Census Bureau’s 2020 numbers.

So why is the percentage of non-white real estate agents so low when compared to the country’s overall racial make-up?

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