April is National Fair Housing Month, but data shows the realities of inequality and a history of discriminatory policies are still blocking homeownership for underserved and underrepresented communities. As a result, Realtor.com is challenging others in the real estate industry to join us in our Closing the Gap Challenge, launched today.
Realtor.com is teaming up with the Homeownership Council of America (HCA) and donating the first $100,000 to their new Equity Down Payment Assistance Fund that targets BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) and low to moderate income home buyers. Realtor.com® will then match every donation by HCA’s Equity DPA fund through June 30, 2022, up to $100,000. This challenge is part of Realtor.com®‘s new Closing the Gap program that focuses on addressing the homeownership disparity in America.
According to Realtor.com, the homeownership rates for Blacks (43.1%), Hispanics (48.4%), and Asian, Native American, Pacific Islanders (61.2%) are still well below the ownership rate of whites (74.4%).
“At Realtor.com, we believe it’s our responsibility to not only address disparity in homeownership but bring others alongside to take up the challenge. As a company, we strive to make a positive impact on fair housing issues, but as an industry we have the power to eliminate it,” said Mickey Neuberger, chief marketing officer for Realtor.com®. “With our Closing the Gap Challenge, we are inviting other leaders in the real estate industry to donate to HCA’s Equity DPA fund that specifically helps people of color and low to moderate income consumers afford down payments and closing costs. Survey data shows having enough for a down payment is one of the largest barriers to homeownership and with this fund we can directly help people break through to start building generational wealth.”
The Homeownership Council of America will manage distribution of the funds following their guidelines. To be eligible the applicant must, among other things, be a first-time home buyer (per HUD, not a home owner for 3 years prior to home purchase date), participate in homebuyer education provided by a housing counseling agency approved by either the HUD, Freddie Mac, or Fannie Mae and must be either low to moderate income (“LMI”) or Black, Indigenous, Hispanic Latino, Mixed Races & Ethnicities, or People of Color (“BIPOC”).
Gabe del Rio, CEO of HCA added, “We are thrilled to launch Equity DPA for the pilot states, with Realtor.com as our first major donor. We ask that other major companies follow in their footsteps and join forces to narrow the homeownership gap. Our initial goal is to reach at least 5,000 underserved homebuyers nationally; as we efficiently deploy donor funds to deserving
households who are striving to attain homeownership. We are prioritizing new areas with donor interest and consistent data analysis of the racial and ethnic homeownership gap.”
Companies who want to participate in the Closing the Gap Challenge should contact HCA by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website and complete an inquiry form at homeownershipcouncil.org/equitydpa.
This challenge is part of Realtor.com’s new Closing the Gap program that’s focused on increasing the homeownership rate of racial minorities. Other initiatives recently launched as part of this program include:
- A down payment assistance search tool on Realtor.com/for everyone where consumers can see if they are eligible for programs that can help fund their home purchase. This search functionality is provided by DownPaymentResource.com who has created a platform that matches buyers with programs that meet their individual home buying needs.
- A down payment assistance guide to educate potential buyers on the types of programs available.
- A micromortgage resource center pilot with Fahe, a non-profit mortgage lender, in the Louisville, Kentucky metro area, with the goal of expanding to other markets. The program focuses on homes priced $100,000 or less with the goal of expanding access to providers of small-dollar mortgage products, so more people can achieve sustainable homeownership.
- A free First-time Homebuying 101 eBook in both English and Spanish that educates readers on the process of buying their first home.
For more information about Realtor.com’s commitment to Fair Housing visit: realtor.com/foreveryone.