Robert Backer: Homeownership For All

Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - by Robert Backer, president, Greater Chattanooga Realtors
The dream of homeownership is sadly being kept out of reach for many in this country. According to a study just released by the National Association of Realtors, the homeownership rate for black Americans – 42 percent – is nearly 30 percent less than the rate for white Americans – 69.8 percent. The U.S. homeownership rate stands at 64.2 percent, with the rates for Asian and Hispanic Americans at 60.7 percent and 48.1 percent, respectively.

While there are many reasons for this discrepancy, NAR also showed that black households – 43 percent – are more than twice as likely than white households – 21 percent – to have student loan debt, with a median student loan debt for black households of $40,000 compared to $30,000 for white households.

This study shows that much more must be done to combat this discrepancy in homeownership.
The ability to own a home has led to generational wealth for many families, and this financial security is important to provide for a family’s future. But unfortunately, we see that racism and discrimination still keep this out of reach for many in our country.

So what can be done to fight against this? When clients ask me what the difference is between using a realtor or a real estate agent, I proudly tell them that as a realtor, I am bound to a strict Code of Ethics that imposes duties above and beyond those imposed by law which apply only to real estate professionals who choose to become realtors. Our code is what sets me, and my fellow realtors, apart.

Today’s Realtor Code of Ethics requires realtors to provide equal services regardless of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status and national origin in accordance with the Fair Housing Act. The code even goes beyond the act by covering sexual orientation and gender identity. NAR also provides members with guidance and resources to understand and comply with the law through its Fair Housing Program.

It's easy to think of ourselves as the hero in our story. But embarrassingly, for many years our industry was in opposition to fair housing. In fact, the National Association of Real Estate Boards (which would later become the National Association of Realtors) actively fought against the passage of the Fair Housing Act. It’s unthinkable now, but the National Association included the phrase “A realtor should never be instrumental in introducing into a neighborhood ... members of any race or nationality ... whose presence will clearly be detrimental to property values in that neighborhood,” in the association’s 1924 Code of Ethics. Embarrassingly, the reference to “race or nationality” was not removed until 1950.

Currently, NAR is working to ensure realtors are active leaders in the fight against bias and discrimination. Last year, NAR began implementing its fair housing "ACT" plan, – which emphasizes Accountability, Culture Change and Training. As a part of this plan, NAR released a new interactive training platform – Fairhaven – designed to help combat discrimination in America's real estate market. In addition, NAR developed an implicit bias training video with strategies to help realtors override biases in their daily interactions.

Locally, Greater Chattanooga Realtors has taken steps to help our membership be more aware of the different cultural perspectives that are here in our community. 
Our Diversity & Inclusion committee exists to promote equal opportunity and cultural diversity within the real estate industry and encourages an Association culture that embraces and celebrates our differences. 

Our Diversity & Inclusion Committee is just one of the ways we as an association, and our members, are listening and learning from everyone in our vibrant and thriving community. Realtors work to make homeownership more accessible to everyone, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation and gender identity. That’s Who We R.

Commercial Property On Encompass Drive Sells For Nearly $8.5 Million

Westside Evolves Enters Phase Of Strategy Development

Robert Backer: March 2021 Housing Market Statistics


The former headquarters for businessman Emerson Russell's ERMC has been sold. The commercial property at 2226 Encompass Dr. was sold for $8,478,750. Built in 1988, this property features ... (click for more)

Westside Evolves, a collaborative neighborhood planning initiative among the Chattanooga Design Studio, the city of Chattanooga, and the Chattanooga Housing Authority, has completed the second ... (click for more)

What a difference a year makes! The normal, expected spring increases in sales activity, coupled with relaxing COVID-19 policies, have created a very busy March. Buyer demand largely has been ... (click for more)



Real Estate

Commercial Property On Encompass Drive Sells For Nearly $8.5 Million

The former headquarters for businessman Emerson Russell's ERMC has been sold. The commercial property at 2226 Encompass Dr. was sold for $8,478,750. Built in 1988, this property features 3.85 acres and 1.02 acres of building space. The sale was to Excelsior Friars Crossing LLC from Spirit Holdings LLC. (click for more)

Westside Evolves Enters Phase Of Strategy Development

Westside Evolves, a collaborative neighborhood planning initiative among the Chattanooga Design Studio, the city of Chattanooga, and the Chattanooga Housing Authority, has completed the second phase of their planning process. Westside residents and other stakeholders participated in a nine-month planning process that will provide a roadmap for revitalization of the neighborhood. ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Tim Kelly Sworn In At The Tivoli As New Mayor Of Chattanooga; Some Downtown Streets Briefly Close For Inaugural Parade

Tim Kelly was sworn in on Monday morning as the new mayor of Chattanooga. He said, "The goals for this week are survival. It's a six day transition, so there's going to be a lot on our plate. As I said before, we'll be putting a ballot initiative on the ballot later this year to change this so no city administration has to go through this ever again, because it's not sufficient ... (click for more)

2 Boys, 11 And 14, Shot Sunday Evening On Chandler Avenue; Another Youth Was Handling Gun And It Accidentally Went Off

Two boys, 11 and 14, were shot on Sunday evening on Chandler Avenue. Police said another youth, 14, was handling a gun that accidentally went off. He was charged with aggravated assault and reckless endangerment. At approximately 7:28 p.m., Chattanooga Police responded to a report of a person shot in the 4000 block of Chandler Avenue. Upon arrival, officers located a boy, 11, ... (click for more)

Opinion

Mr. Coolidge Fought The Good Fight

The Chattanooga High School Alumni Association extends our deepest sympathy to the family of Mr. Coolidge. He was a member of the CHS Class of 1939 and a true Dynamo for life. RIP, Mr. Coolidge, you surely fought the good fight. When the Alumni Association decided to establish a CHS Hall of Fame it was also determined to create a special honor, first person chosen for the Hall ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Woke USA Is Nuts

Most of you will know that on April 13 our Centers for Disease Control and the Federal Drug Administration issued joint orders to “pause” distribution of the Johnson and Johnson COVID vaccine because immunizations of the drug were believed to cause blood clots in some women. What you may not know it that “some women” really equaled a total of six women. I am not a physician who ... (click for more)