We’re midway through Fair Housing Month, and REALTORS® across the country are pursuing bold goals to substantially narrow racial and ethnic homeownership gaps – work that will continue year-round. Use this checklist to get informed, inspired, and involved in expanding homeownership and building diverse, inclusive communities.
President Leslie Rouda Smith has asked NAR leaders to complete the Fair Housing Challenge and the REALTORS® Commitment to Excellence program. All members are encouraged to fulfill this challenge to stand up for fair housing and take their professionalism and service to the next level. Watch this video to learn more.
What You Need to Know
NAR released its newest study, 2022 Obstacles to Home Buying, this week, which found the #1 obstacle holding back buyers of all races is the lack of affordable homes. Despite challenging market conditions, the report also noted nearly all homebuyers agree homeownership is still the American Dream.
NAR advocated for many REALTOR® priorities in the $1.5 trillion bipartisan spending bill signed into law in mid-March. The legislation included $85 million for fair housing activities, including HUD’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program, Fair Housing Assistance Program, and the National Fair Housing Training Academy. This level represents an increase of $12.5 million above the FY 2021 enacted level.
President Biden’s fiscal year 2023 budget proposal released at the end of March included a historic $50 billion investment to increase the supply of affordable housing. “This unprecedented investment demonstrates how seriously the White House views the supply crisis,” says NAR’s chief advocacy officer Shannon McGahn. “We worked with the administration and Congress over the past year on comprehensive policy proposals, and now a consensus is growing across Washington that decisive action is needed.” NAR’s policy team breaks down the full budget request here.
Homebuyers this spring are facing a double whammy of rising home prices and mortgage rates. During the first two months of 2022, home prices climbed by more than 15% compared to a year ago, says Nadia Evangelou, NAR senior economist and director of forecasting. Over the last three months, mortgage rates have risen by 1.5 percentage points, the fastest three-month rise in 28 years.
The REALTOR® Party At Work
Highlighted here are a few of the many REALTOR® Party success stories across the nation. These and others are cataloged in the Success Stories section on REALTORParty.realtor.
New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania Associations Focus on Fair Housing at Annual Triple Play REALTORS® Convention
With a combined total membership of over 150,000 real estate professionals, and a shared commitment to fair housing and DEI education, the REALTOR® associations of New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey used a Fair Housing Grant to help bring national fair housing speakers to their annual convention. The December 2021 event featured a full day of fair housing classes and a powerful presentation by Bill Dedman, member of the investigative team that produced the Newsday exposé on racial steering.
Bay East Association of REALTORS® Hosts Richard Rothstein at a Book Club Event Shared with Fellow Real Estate Organizations
A Fair Housing Grant helped the Bay East Association of REALTORS® bring Richard Rothstein, author of The Color of Law, to a virtual book club event. Members had the opportunity to learn about the root causes of systemic racism, particularly in the housing market. The association also invited colleagues from other real estate organizations to join the discussion, creating a collaborative environment for greater understanding and a catalyst for ongoing advocacy.
Charleston Trident Association of REALTORS® Hosts Housing Summit and Commissions Study to Recommend Productive Changes to Zoning Codes
The region around Charleston, S.C., is experiencing a dire housing crunch, especially in affordable housing. With three of the top five population centers in the state in its operating area, the Charleston Trident Association of REALTORS® hosted a housing summit and commissioned a deep-dive study supported by Smart Growth and Issues Mobilization Grants to help the region move its plans from paper to policy.
Fredericksburg Area Association of REALTORS® Helps Create Commemorative Park Celebrating Historic African American Neighborhood
From the 1870s to the 1970s, a bustling African American business district flourished in the town of Orange, Va. But that all changed when the federal government appropriated land in the neighborhood to build a bypass. With the help of a Placemaking Grant, the Fredericksburg Area Association of REALTORS® joined a coalition of government and nonprofit organizations to create a commemorative park recounting the history of the neighborhood and the people who once lived and worked there.
Resources & Opportunities
Take action. Educate the community. Help strengthen your members’ commitment to offering equal professional service to all. NAR’s new Fair Housing Toolkit details how fair housing grants can support a variety of initiatives that help state and local associations uphold fair housing laws, strengthen REALTORS®’ commitment to equal professional service, and help create diverse, inclusive communities.
Is your association interested in addressing challenges such as declining housing stock and affordability, natural disasters, and commercial disinvestment? Through Transforming Neighborhoods, local associations can apply by May 2nd to receive expert analysis, plans, and recommendations from the Counselors of Real Estate® (CRE) Consulting Corps.
Make plans to attend the Urban Roundtable during the 2022 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings to learn how digital technologies and sustainable practices are changing the way we plan cities. Greg Herb, REALTOR® Party Community Engagement Liaison, will host the panel discussion on May 5th from 2:30-4:00 pm ET. If you haven’t yet registered for the Legislative Meetings, do it today!
Questions? Contact Hugh Morris
NAR and the VA have released a two-part video series on the VA Home Loan Guaranty Program, designed to help REALTORS® better serve veteran and active duty homebuyers achieving homeownership with VA loans. NAR also worked with FEMA on two videos that discuss why Risk Rating 2.0, the new flood insurance rating system, is beneficial to REALTORS® and homeowners.
Legislative and regulatory proposals that threaten property rights often arise quickly and need expert analysis. The Land Use Initiative will analyze and provide talking points for state and local associations on proposed planning and zoning-related measures that impact the transfer of real property. Review past measures by keyword, issue, date, and state.
Questions? Contact Christine Windle
Fund your association’s advocacy, education, and engagement initiatives related to broadband, floodplain, on-site well and septic, open space preservation, protection overlay districts, and infrastructure challenges with help from Rural Outreach Grants. Need inspiration? Learn how the Baldwin REALTORS® helped their region prepare for flood impact with grant support.
Questions? Contact Christine Windle
Take your profession to the next level and become an NAR Spire Mentor. You’ll enhance your reputation in the community as you share your knowledge and enthusiasm with an eager mentee. Check to see if your association is participating in the 2022 NAR Spire program and apply today.
NAR is currently investigating reports of an unauthorized third-party posing as NAR and attempting to fraudulently sell members health insurance. If you receive a text message or phone call offering health insurance from NAR, please do not respond or provide any personal or financial information. Remember: NAR will never contact you by phone or text to solicit personal or financial information, or to sell any product or service.