American Banker, August 17, 2023, In Debate Over Appraisal Bias, Rival Researchers Clash Over Key Data
Conflicting findings from a pair of non-profit research groups call into question whether or not recent actions will improve financial outcomes for minority homeowners without leading to banks and other mortgage lenders taking on undue risks.
The debate centers on a 2018 report from the Brookings Institution, which found that homes in majority-Black neighborhoods are routinely discounted relative to equivalent properties in areas with little or no Black population, a trend that has exacerbated the country’s racial wealth gap. The study, which adjusts for various home and neighborhood characteristics, found that homes in Black neighborhoods were valued 23% less than homes in other areas.
In 2021, the American Enterprise Institute replicated the Brookings study but applied additional proxies for the socioeconomic status of borrowers.
By simply adding a control for the Equifax credit risk score for borrowers, the AEI research asserts, the average property devaluation for properties in Black neighborhoods falls to 0.3%.