RISMedia's Real Estate Magazine

APR 2019

Real Estate magazine is the industry's leading source for real estate news and information since 1980. Published monthly by RISMedia, Real Estate magazine offers timely and relevant real estate news to the industry's top brokers and agents.

Issue link: http://remag.rismedia.com/i/1097917

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Page 18 of 144

14 April 2019 RISMedia's REAL ESTATE {The NAR Power Broker Roundtable} Jim Imhoff: April is Fair Housing Month, and REALTORS® across the country are reaffirming their commitment to the Fair Housing Act, which was signed into law as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Title VIII of the law was designed to protect Americans from discrimination in the sale, rental or financing of a home. NAR continues to stand with brokerages and professional associations everywhere in promoting and maintaining the goal of equal opportunity in our industry. All this comes at a time when diversity and inclu- sion dominate the national conversation, so it seems like a good time to see where we stand regarding fair housing. Christina, welcome back to the Roundtable. Christina Pappas: Thanks, Jim. Di- versity is certainly a priority in Miami, where the population reflects that, and I think it's amazing just how far we have come, and crazy how much further we need to go. We've made so much progress in overcoming cul- tural discrimination, but we know that financing is another issue, especially among the lowest earners. Joan Docktor: I agree. Agents want to sell houses. They don't care about the ethnicity or race of the buyer. It's only a problem if the buyers can't make a down payment or haven't established a credit rating. Mike Zagaris: That's certainly true in our Central Valley in California, where agri-business is primary. In my view, affordability has replaced discrimina- tion as the issue we need to deal with, because low-wage farm workers, no matter how hard-working, are too often priced out of the market. JI: So how do we deal with that? CP: We host many home-buying work- shops focused on saving and building credit, for one, and we partner with like-minded housing coalitions com- mitted to finding solutions. Lacey Conway: In New Orleans, we've determined that there's a critical need for over 30,000 affordable housing units. Our goal is to build and renovate some 1,500 affordable units a year for the next five years. It's an ambitious plan, but we're working with housing and business alliances, and the mayor's office. We intend to get this done. JD: We also recognize that people feel most comfortable speaking in their native language. Our website lists agents who speak various languages and who are available to work with diverse buyers locally and abroad. Bill Plaos: Irvine is a melting pot with a growing Asian population, and we acknowledge that with a staff of bilingual agents who understand Asian values and customs. It's be- come a hallmark of who we are. JI: But what I'm hearing, too, is that affordability is in many cases more of an issue than fair housing. MZ: Yes, and I think that's especially true where diversity is the standard in our communities. As Joan indi- cated, we are color blind in our mis- sion to sell houses, but it's tougher in today's world not just to create affordable housing, but to overcome financing hurdles. CP: Lower underwriting standards are not the answer. MZ: No, we tried that years ago, and it backfired on several levels. Consumer counseling is helpful, as is working with other agencies to find or create affordable housing. LC: We recognize that this is just the beginning—that the greatest challenges are securing long-term capital development and addressing that credit gap we've talked about. Education on diversity and equal opportunity must be baked into our education offerings. JI: Diversity in our workforce; educa- tion and counseling; working to create affordability—those are the challenges, and www.NAR.realtor is a good place to find presentations and smart growth programs to help us in all those efforts. RE 8For an expanded version of this article and other NAR Power Broker Roundtable topics, please visit www.rismedia.com. Fair Housing After 50 years: A Goal or Reality? MODERATOR: Jim Imhoff Chairman, First Weber, Madison, Wis., Liaison for Large Firms & Industry Relations, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) PARTICIPANTS: Christina Pappas District Sales Manager, The Keyes Company, Miami, Fla. Joan Docktor President, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS®, Philadelphia, Pa. Michael Zagaris CEO, PMZ Real Estate, Modesto, Calif. Lacey Conway President, Latter & Blum Inc., New Orleans, La. Bill Plaos Executive VP, First Team Real Estate, Irvine, Calif. The Power Broker Roundtable is brought to you by the National Association of REALTORS® and Jim Imhoff, NAR's Liaison for Large Firms & Industry Relations. Watch for this column each month, where we address broker issues, concerns and milestones.

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