HUD studies home valuation bias

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) held a virtual event last Monday looking at bias issues surrounding the home valuation process. The American Society of Appraisers released a statement noting that “this event was held without any participants from the appraisal profession at the table. This marks the second event of its kind that has excluded appraisers or their representatives from these important conversations. On June 15th, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) held their own valuation bias event, absent any meaningful input from the appraisal profession.”

“This mirrors the ongoing process, led by HUD, by which the PAVE Interagency Task Force has been working. Rather than providing public notice of planned meetings and seeking stakeholder input, the task force meets privately and without offering meaningful opportunity for public input,” the ASA added.

The ASA also argued that the “exclusion of the appraisal profession from these events sends the message — intentional or not — that the input of appraisers is unwanted by those seeking to address issues relating to valuation bias.”

The ASA added: “We believe that our track record on this issue demonstrates not only a willingness to engage on the question of valuation bias, but a commitment to doing the earnest work necessary to understand and overcome these challenges:

  • ASA provided significant input to and ongoing support for HR 2553, the Real Estate Valuation Fairness and Improvement Act of 2021. This bill provides a comprehensive framework that addresses the housing finance system holistically and provides all stakeholders an opportunity to offer input;
  • ASA has also worked on the state level to improve legislation designed to provide consumers meaningful disclosure around their rights if they feel they have been subject to discrimination, as well as ensuring that appraisers are provided the tools and resources necessary to understand the nuances of topics such as unconscious bias;
  • ASA has testified before, and is on a Task Force with, the City of Philadelphia to investigate what role localities can play in understanding and addressing valuation bias issue;
  • ASA, along with its partners in the appraisal profession, developed and presented a free session discussing unconscious bias and its possible effects in the appraisal process; and,
  • Since 2019, ASA has engaged its own Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, looking at ways to improve representation across the whole of the appraisal profession. ASA has also served on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Special Committee of the Appraisal Foundation, and supports the broad-based efforts undertaken by the Foundation in this area.”

The ASA also referenced a recent letter to HUD, noting that “ASA (as well as the whole of the appraisal profession) continues to be willing to engage meaningfully on the topic of valuation bias. All we ask is for agencies such as HUD and CFPB to provide the opportunity.”

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