This is Part II of HousingWire’s deep dive into the appraisal profession, and the wave of racial bias claims that has rocked it. In Part I, we looked at the origins of the profession, its present demographic makeup and leadership, and the many struggles of appraisers. In Part II, we examine the evidence around race-based discrimination by appraisers.
The news reports and horror stories of residential appraisers undervaluing a home because the homeowner is Black would presumably lead to a trail of formal complaints, federal investigations and lawsuit payouts.
They do not.
In fact, a review of court documents, and interviews with dozens of industry experts, housing officials and researchers, revealed little hard evidence of appraiser bias.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development can receive allegations of appraisal discrimination. But from 2019 to 2020, the Washington Post reported, HUD received just 12. For this story, a spokesperson for HUD declined to specify how many complaints it has received this year, or any details about the complaints.
“There are a number of cases before HUD related to bias in appraisals,” a HUD spokesperson said. “We do not disclose the complaint and responses provided by the respondent while an investigative matter is still pending at HUD.”