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In front of a House panel on Thursday, a Maryland REALTORĀ® discussed the disparities in homeownership in minority populations, and efforts to eradicate those inequalities.

Before the House Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development and Insurance, JoAnne Poole, vice chair of the National Association of REALTORSĀ® (NAR) Multicultural Real Estate Leadership Advisory Group, shared:

“To many people in this country, homeownership is synonymous with the American Dream, creating stable communities, increasing civic participation and building our feelings of self-worth and self-esteem. If America is to remain a nation of homeowners, we must address the persistent barriers that minorities continue to face. NAR is working to close racial homeownership gaps by encouraging local governments to adopt zoning laws, building codes and other policies that encourage free-market production of entry-level homes and other affordable housing unitsā€¦Priority should be placed on advancing local policy solutions; tackling housing supply and affordability; promoting equitable and accessible housing finance; reaching out to mortgage-ready millennials and renters; and maintaining a focus on sustainable homeownership and preservation.”

Poole also highlighted initiatives by NAR, specifically.

“NAR commends [House Subcommittee] Chairman [William Lacy] Clay [D-Mo.] and Ranking Member [Sean P.] Duffy [R-Wis.] for facilitating critical discussions surrounding minority homeownership,” said John Smaby, NAR president, in a statement. “REALTORSĀ® have fought for decades to keep the American Dream available to everyone in this country. That fight continues on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures across the country as we seek out policies that will close these persistent and unacceptable racial homeownership gaps.”

According to Census figures, African American and Hispanic homeownership lags the national trend, with the former at 41.1 percent and the latter at 47.4 percent. The national rate is 64.2 percent.

Poole, a branch manager at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty in Baltimore, was one of seven who testified on Thursday, including Jeffrey Hicks, president of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB). The hearing preceded the REALTORSĀ® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo, happening in Washington this week.

For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com.

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