Senator Reverend Warnock Stresses Need to Address Racial Disparities in Home Appraisals, Persistent Racial Wealth Gap in Senate Hearing

Senator Warnock questioned experts during a hearing of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee on the legacy of racial discrimination in housing 
Senator Warnock, Chair of key Banking subcommittee, highlighted how racial disparities within the home appraisals market exacerbates the wealth gap in Georgia, across the country
Senator Warnock: “This is an extremely important issue for me because I’ve been there—and know the experience of millions of Black and brown families in this country”
Senator Warnock questions witness Ms. Lisa Rice, President and CEO of the National Housing Alliance 


Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), chair of the Banking subcommittee overseeing federal consumer protection efforts, highlighted the impact of racial disparities in the home appraisals market, and its worsening effect on the already chasmic racial wealth gap, during a hearing on housing discrimination in the Senate banking and housing committee. Senator Warnock questioned hearing witnesses Mr. Richard Rothstein, a Distinguished Fellow at the Economic Policy Institute, Ms. Lisa Rice, President and CEO of the National Housing Alliance and Dr. Jason Reece, Assistant Professor of City and Regional Planning at the Ohio State University’s Knowlton School of Architecture about the origin of well-documented racial discrimination in housing appraisals, and what steps Congress and federal regulators should take to address the issue.

“Sadly, there’s a long and documented history of racial discrimination within our housing system, particularly among our Black and brown brothers and sisters. There are also many reports, studies, that document how these discriminatory practices and how contributed to the growing racial wealth gap in our country. There’s a reason why the geography of our country literally looks the way it does,” Senator Warnock stated to the witnesses during the hearing.

Senator Warnock continued: “One often overlooked driver of racial wealth inequality within our housing system is how lenders and the appraisal market assess the value of Black and brown homeowners compared to white homeowners. In fact, a 2018 Brookings Institution study found that homes in neighborhoods, where the share of the population is 50 percent Black, are valued at roughly half the price as homes in neighborhoods with no Black residents. The report also stated that ‘homes of similar quality in neighborhoods with similar amenities are worth 23 percent less in majority Black neighborhoods, compared to those with very few or no Black residents’ and ‘across all majority Black neighborhoods, owner-occupied homes are undervalued by $48,000 per home on average, amounting to $156 billion in cumulative losses.’”  

A vocal champion for strengthening equity in federal public policy, Senator Warnock’s questioning follows his recent efforts to push senior officials at critical federal banking and housing agencies—including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) —to take swift action to address racial disparities in the home appraisals market. Following responses from hearing witnesses, Senator Warnock added: “This is an extremely important issue for me because I’ve been there—and know the experience of millions of Black and brown families in this country—which is why I…sent a letter to federal banking regulators and housing agencies, as well as the Appraisal Subcommittee, urging them to do all they can to address these valuation disparities.”

See full video of Senator Warnock’s questioning HERE.