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Philadelphia Home Appraisal Bias Task Force Report and Recommendations

Philadelphia Councilwoman and Majority Leader Cherelle L. Parker (9th District), along with Dr. Ira Goldstein, President of Policy Solutions at Reinvestment Fund, and all the members of the Philadelphia Home Appraisal Bias Task Force, issued a Final Report and Recommendations.

This Report is the culmination of more than a year’s work. On February 25, 2021, Philadelphia City Councilwoman and Majority Leader Cherelle L. Parker co-wrote an op-ed with Ira Goldstein from Reinvestment Fund and Professor Gregory Squires from George Washington University that was published in WHYY’s PlanPhilly and entitled “Home appraisals drive America’s racial wealth gap – 95% of Philly’s appraisers are white.” Then, on April 26, 2021, Philadelphia City Council’s Committee on Housing, Neighborhood Development, and the Homeless heard Councilwoman Parker’s Resolution #210208, which authorized the Committee to hold hearings examining the race gap in home appraisals and its impact on homeownership and wealth accumulation in Philadelphia. During the hearing, the Committee heard from national experts as well as local, on-the-ground practitioners.

While there were several useful recommendations offered during the course of the hearing, it became clear that the issue of racial bias in home appraisals would need a more in-depth focus in order to gather recommendations for the local, state, and federal levels.

During the hearing, Councilwoman Parker committed to creating a “working group” made up of those who testified at the hearing, as well as additional experts and practitioners in the field. The working group ultimately became the Philadelphia Home Appraisal Bias Task Force. The Task Force met several times throughout 2021 and into 2022.

The Report offers recommendations for local, state, and national intervention. Recommendations are made related to, among other things: increasing the level of transparency of the appraisal process; opening up the profession to a more diverse group of appraisers; educating the public about appraisals; gathering appraisal data locally in transactions with City support. Some recommendations may require state or federal legislation, while others just require internal policy and process improvements, as well as the political will to make those much-needed changes.

A news release is also available that references the work.

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