Four major organizations representing diverse groups in the real estate industry have launched an anti-hate campaign to fight what they call a “vocal minority” targeting underserved populations.
The leaders of the Real Estate Alliance (the Alliance), Asian Real Estate Association of America, National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals and California Association of Realtors WomanUP! announced on Sept. 26 the debut of "Stop Hate in Real Estate," a multi-pronged effort to raise awareness of discrimination in real estate and give industry professionals the opportunity to stand for positive change in the face of increased accounts of division, discrimination and hatred currently seen across the nation. Through the campaign's website, professionals can sign a pledge to advocate for change within the industry.
“It is unfortunate that the hate, discrimination and vitriol that is evident today has forced us to create Stop Hate in Real Estate ... I truly believe that real estate professionals, as leaders in our communities, can take a leadership role in bringing this period of divisiveness to a close,” Erin Morrison, president of the Alliance, said.
According to national surveys, discrimination persists despite fair housing laws making it illegal.
A survey from the National Association of Realtors showed that 1 in 6 prospective homebuyers across races and ethnicities reported facing discrimination. More than half of Black (63%), Asian (60%) and Hispanic (52%) prospective buyers who reported discrimination say they believe it was due to their race or ethnicity, according to the survey reported in the association's Realtor Magazine.
Respondents said the discrimination they experienced took the form of steering toward or away from specific neighborhoods and more strict requirements for mortgage approval.
During the launch of the campaign at the Sept. 26 press conference, several families shared how anti-LGBTQ+ bills, laws and rhetoric forced them to flee their home states because they feared for the safety and futures of their children. The leaders of each of the four groups then spoke of discrimination experienced by members of their respective communities. By banding together, they announced, “an attack against one is an attack against all.”
Hope Atuel, CEO of Asian Real Estate Association of America, cited FBI data showing a 57% uptick in hate crimes and discrimination toward the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community between 2020 and 2021.
“The hate has escalated toward housing and shelter,” she said, referring to a growing number of bills that restrict the ability for foreigners from countries deemed as adversaries to purchase land in the United States. In Florida, there is now a law to limit Chinese property ownership under the guise of national security.
“Of course, we want to protect our nation’s security, but these bills and the Florida law prevent the entire AANHPI community from feeling safe, secure and welcome. We can’t allow more barriers to go up against AANHPI people on their journey to homeownership,” Atuel said.
Nuria Rivera, president of National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, said, "Our nation is changing, and by most accounts, will become a majority diverse nation in the early 2040s. The Hispanic community is the largest diverse demographic with about 65 million people, yet our homeownership rate remains incredibly low at 49%. There are a lot of reasons for this including discrimination.
"The Stop Hate in Real Estate initiative is really important. It gives our members, those in the other diverse organizations and so many good people in our industry the opportunity to band together and stand up against hate and discrimination.'”
Sara Sutachan, senior vice president and chief strategy officer with the Association of Realtors, said WomanUP! supports the journey of women to the top of their careers.
“We need Stop Hate in Real Estate both to corral discrimination within our industry and to allow the real estate community to be an impetus for change in our nation," she said. "We cannot allow those who do not see women as equals to be propped up and given positions of authority. Our industry is made up of more than 60% females, but their path to success is usually much harder than for their counterparts.”
In addition to providing a pledge for real estate professionals to sign that affirms their resolve to stop hate, the initiative will include a variety of events and showcase how discrimination is impacting homebuyers and sellers. Leaders of the four real estate groups, representing nearly 75,000 combined members, will meet regularly to help identify and work to rectify discriminatory activities.
Commenting on the initiative, Jim Hamilton, president of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors, said, “As Realtors, we all have the same goal, that of supporting individuals and families who want to achieve the American dream of homeownership, no matter what race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity. The Realtor Code of Ethics expresses it plainly – hate speech, harassing speech, slurs against individuals on the basis of these classifications will not be tolerated in our industry.”
Silicon Valley Association of Realtors (SILVAR) is a professional trade organization representing 5,000 Realtors and affiliate members engaged in the real estate business on the Peninsula and in the South Bay. SILVAR promotes the highest ethical standards of real estate practice, serves as an advocate for homeownership and homeowners, and represents the interests of property owners in Silicon Valley.
The term Realtor is a registered collective membership mark which identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors and who subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.
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