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VOL. 132 | NO. 81 | Monday, April 24, 2017

NAREB Kicks Off Events to Build Black Homeownership

By Patrick Lantrip

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With homeownership rates among African-Americans 20 percent below the national average, the National Association of Real Estate Brokers has launched a “Two Million Black Homeowners in Five Years” initiative with the hopes of closing the homeowner gap.

Sherita McCray and Cheryl Muhammad are organizing an week-long series of event to help promote NAREB's "Two Million Black Homeowners in Five Years" initiative. 

(Daily News/Patrick Lantrip)

To get the word out about this initiative, NAREB’s Memphis chapter will host Realtist Week April 23-29, a series of events aimed at increasing black homeownership.

“This is a five-year program – it’s not a sprint, it’s more like marathon,” said Sherita McCray, president of NAREB’s Memphis chapter and an agent with Assured Real Estate Services. “It’s going to take us a while to get to that goal, but we are focused and we’re ready to actually do the work it takes to get it done.”

The week’s festivities kick off with a play put on by a group of local actors and actresses titled “A Home is Not a Home Unless You Own It,” followed by a political advocacy luncheon Tuesday, April 25, with several local leaders, including state Rep. G.A. Hardaway, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and Shelby County Trustee David Lenoir.

The festivities conclude Saturday, April 29, with the main event, Community Wealth Building Day.

At that event 30 different vendors that include Realtors, loan officers, appraisers and credit repair specialists will be on-site at 1574 E. Shelby Drive to offer services.

“We’re going to have an array of people there who can actually help the black community rebuild, get educated and restructure, so that they can be homeowners as well,” McCray said.

During its inaugural year, Cheryl Muhammad, NAREB Memphis’ president-elect and an Assured broker, said they want to promote the important role of homeownership in the black community and raise awareness about the program with key stakeholders like the NAACP and Memphis Area Association of Realtors.

“The work that we’re going to be doing is to educate and prepare consumers for homeownership, because we know a lot of them are really not ready now,” Muhammad said. “The accomplishment for year one is to create a standard way to encourage our communities around increasing the homeownership rate among African-Americans.”

Homeownership, she said, is the most effective way for the black community to begin to build wealth. To do this, NAREB will actively promote the positive advantages of homeownership in an effort to change the narrative that renting is more affordable for low-income families.

“NAREB’s key activism point is homeownership is the No. 1 way to build wealth in any community, especially among the low- to moderate-income families,” Muhammad said.

NAREB also plans to advocate for legislation that would reform the borrowing process, she added.

“These changes would not require the rebuilding of the housing financial system, we just want the lender to use more up-to-date credit scoring models,” she said. “That way, our non-traditional borrowers would be able to qualify – and there’s tens of thousands of them out there.”

Muhammad hopes programs like this will help close the national homeownership gap.

“For blacks it’s 41.7 percent, and it’s declining,” she said.

For context, the homeownership rates for non-Hispanic whites is 71 percent, she said, followed by 53 percent for Asian Americans and 46 percent for people of Hispanic origin.

“As you can see we’re really behind, and we have got to close that gap,” Muhammad said. “And we’re going to do that through promoting and educating the consumers about homeownership.”

PROPERTY SALES 28 290 16,197
MORTGAGES 33 165 10,087
BUILDING PERMITS 184 608 38,544
BANKRUPTCIES 33 125 7,597