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Local Realtor discusses the impact of racial bias and home value

An open house sign on a yard
Paul Brennan
The results of the study show that homes in racially diverse neighborhoods are likely to be appraised at a lower value.

A recent study from the trade organization Illinois Realtors showed that race impacts home values. Those impacts are far reaching.

Edwardsville broker Anita Anthony said those disparities have very real world impacts on individuals and communities. But it's hard to prove bias, she said, and people may not realize that their race is a factor when their home is appraised.

"Who would know that they appraised it lower because it was owned by a black person? Unless you had another one done, and changed all the pictures in the home to make it appear that a white family owned that home," she said. "Now, would that second appraisal come back higher?"

In addition to reducing the wealth of minority families, undervaluing homes impacts the taxes collected, Anthony said, resulting in less funding for schools, roads, and other community services.

"You know, you have the taxing districts. The library, the schools, police and fire. Part of their budget is from property taxes. So if, in a minority area, if property values are declining so is the amount of money coming in for schools and roads and police and fire," she said.

Anthony said there needs to be more self-policing within the industry to help combat bias and make the home appraisal process more equitable.

Steph Whiteside is a Digital Media News Specialist with WSIU radio in Carbondale, Ill. She previously worked as a general reporter at AJ+ and Current TV.
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