Illinois task force to address racial bias in appraisals

The state House passed a bill establishing the task force last week


A task force to investigate racial bias in home valuations may be coming to Illinois.

The Illinois House passed HB 4410 last week, a bill that would create the task force in response to widespread concern that Black homeowners get significantly lower assessments than white homeowners when selling their homes.

The bill will head to the Senate, where if passed, it would create a “real estate evaluation task force” that investigates any patterns of racial bias in appraisals, according to Crain’s Chicago. The task force would also conduct research on whether there are any barriers to entry to people of color within the appraisal industry.

Black-owned homes often get lowball appraisals and national reports have shown instances where Black homeowners have “whitewashed’’ their homes – removing or replacing family photos, and asking white friends to host the appraiser, and gotten higher appraisals. A property appraisal determines the value of a property, which is then used by lenders to set the mortgage amount.

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These lower appraisals are “directly connected to the disinvestment, the poverty and the lack of interest” in majority-Black communities, Rep. Lamont J. Robinson told Crain’s. The Democrat representing the 5th district, which covers portions of Chicago, is one of the sponsors of the bill.

The Illinois task force would come after the Biden administration established a federal task force studying the issues of property appraisal and valuation equity, or PAVE.

The task forces come after years of reports and studies that show racial bias contributes strongly to lower home-value appraisals on Black homeowners’ property.

[Crain’s Chicago] — Miranda Davis

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