Few Black real estate professionals could lead to discrimination for homebuyers, experts worry

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The ABC11 data team has found racial disparities in the state and local real estate market, showing very few Black property appraisers and real estate agents.

In Raleigh alone, out of more than 7,000 agents, roughly 80% are White, according to the latest U.S. Census data. Only 6% are Black and 7% Hispanic.

Census figures show Black residents make up 20% of Wake County's population. Whites make up nearly 68% of the county population.

If you've sold or refinanced a home recently, you know that part of the process is getting that home appraised.

"Generally when you arrive, sometimes people are tense because they, they feel that they being judged," Rodney Moore, a real estate appraiser in Wake Forest, told ABC11.

READ MORE: Frenzied Triangle home market among most competitive in US

Moore said sometimes Black clients have even more apprehension because they fear their home will be judged on their race since the vast majority of appraisers are White.

A study of Census figures by the ABC11 data team showed a lack of Black appraisers like Moore across North Carolina and almost none in the Triangle market.

Moore noted that even where those figures may be higher, "To only have 5% of African-Americans as appraiser in any one area where you might have 20 or 30% of the population as being African-Americans, you see that could be cause for a problem."

READ MORE: Real estate agent program aims to increase Black homeownership, agents

Moore is concerned that could lead to discrimination that might undervalue Black-owned property, which could prevent those families from building generational wealth through home ownership.

"Being a homeowner is really an added benefit because you're putting your money into something that you own," said Sofia Crisp, the executive director of the Housing Consultants Group in Greensboro. She has been a real estate agent in North Carolina for nearly 30 years.

Crisp encourages others to join her field, where there are more African-American real estate agents than appraisers.

However, Census data shows even real estate agents are underrepresented in the state and the Triangle.

"Everyone should be able to find somebody that looks like them in the profession of real estate as well as an appraiser," Crisp said.

As for appraisers, Moore said he is training others in an effort to bring the number of Black people in his industry closer in line with the population.

"I think it's just our responsibility as appraisers to reach back and help others be it minorities, be it other minorities, be it women, the people that hadn't been in the industry," Moore said.

One thing to look out for if you think you're being discriminated against is whether you were given information about schools in the area or whether that factored into your appraisal.
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