Study Finds a Huge Advantage in Appraisal Values for Homes in White Neighborhoods

A new report authored by Junia Howell, a visiting assistant professor of sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Elizabeth Korver-Glenn, assistant professor of sociology at Washington University in St. Louis, documents a huge gap in home appraisal values between predominantly White communities and similar homes in communties where people of color are the majority of homeowners.

Using the newly released Uniform Appraisal Dataset — the most comprehensive set of market appraisals in the nation — the authors find that homes today in White neighborhoods are appraised at double the value of comparable homes in communities of color. This represents a 75 percent increase in neighborhood racial inequality in home values over the last decade.

The authors found that “although the racial inequality in home values has been increasing since 1980, the rate by which it is increasing has tripled in the last decade. From 1980 to 2015, the neighborhood racial gap in appraisals expanded by $6,000 a year. Yet, in this last decade, this gap grew by $18,000 a year.” They also discovered that the unprecedented rise in home values during the COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated racial inequality in appraised home values. Over the last two years, the average home in White neighborhoods increased in value $136,000, which is more than twice the appreciation a comparable house in a community of color experienced ($60,000).

Dr. Howell notes that “our study shows that industry and monetary policy decisions made during the pandemic enabled an influx of capital into the housing market, primarily in White neighborhoods. This substantial increase in inequality will have ripple effects on racial inequities in wealth and well-being for years to come.”

“With the release of this report, we hope to put an end to any doubts about the continuation of racism in the housing industry and point the way forward for regulators and industry leaders who are committed to changing the methods of appraisal that created this problem,” added Dr. Korver-Glenn, who is the author of Race Brokers: Housing Markets and Segregation in 21st-Century Urban America (Oxford University Press, 2021).

The full report, Appraised: The Persistent Evaluation of White Neighborhoods as More Valuable Than Communities of Color Homes, may be downloaded here.

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