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Federal Legislation Could Tackle the Racial Gap in Home Appraisals

Congresswoman Maxine Waters wants a bill to address discrimination in appraising home values, a decades-long problem that is starting to get broader recognition. 

Representative Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California, is planning to propose legislation to rein in racial discrimination in home appraisals.

Representative Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California, is planning to propose legislation to rein in racial discrimination in home appraisals.

Photographer: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg

On the problem of Black-owned homes being appraised at lower values than white-owned homes, Congresswoman Maxine Waters has heard enough. 

In a letter last week to appraisal industry leaders and regulators, she announced plans to propose legislation reining in racial discrimination in home appraisals. Waters, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, wrote that her committee will “hold the appraisal industry fully accountable” for systemic racial disparities, citing studies from researchers Junia Howell, Elizabeth Korver-Glenn and Andre Perry. The committee will convene hearings in the coming months to prepare for a bill to be filed.