Size, ubiquity of U.S. home value gap

The “appraisal gap” — the tendency for homes in white neighborhoods to be given higher values than equivalent homes in communities of color — has attracted media attention in recent years. A new report led by UIC’s Junia Howell, visiting assistant professor in sociology, calculates the width of those disparities in cities across the United States, finding it present in all corners of the country and widening dramatically in recent years.

The research was featured in a graphics-heavy piece by Bloomberg City Lab, which highlighted that the gap was present in each of the top 30 metro areas. In the most expensive regions, such as Southern California and New York City, the gap exceeded $1 million between white and Black neighborhoods. In less expensive areas, such as Charleston, South Carolina, and San Antonio, Texas, the absolute dollar difference was smaller, but the relative disparity was even higher. The study also found that diverse areas have higher appraisal inequity. 

That’s despite the fact that the demand for diverse neighborhoods is high among people of color, Howell said. This tension affirms that unequal appraisals are not simply the result of supply and demand, Howell said, but instead reinforce racial hierarchies and assumptions that affect how appraisers assess comparable sales.

Read more at, and learn about Howell’s organization for alternative appraisal approaches, eruka.

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