The future of real estate, after Georgia’s historic election!

Zillow economist Treh Mahertz shares Communities of color have long had to deal with housing discrimination problems. And while Black and Latinx home prices remain lower overall, Zillow data shows that since the greatest difference in values seen since the Great Recession, the gap between these groups has fallen by around 4 percent.

“The home value gap has taken almost a decade to return to pre-recession levels, but still, the gap remains very large,” Zillow economist Treh Manhertz said in Zillow’s study. With the pandemic hitting Black and Brown communities and jobs especially hard, there was reason to fear that another dip could be on the horizon that could slow or stop progress. This is not the case, though, as this time the same variables that widened the gap in the Great Recession are not surfacing. There are no signs of another widening of the gap coming this year, thanks to rock bottom rates on the most stable mortgages, expanded forbearance schemes, and rising home prices.

According to Zillow data released Tuesday, black-owned homes are worth 16.2 percent less and Latinx-owned homes are worth 10.2 percent less than the usual U.S. house. Typically, non-Hispanic, white-owned homes and Asian-owned homes are priced at 2.9% and 3.7% higher than the average house.

Prior to the Great Recession, the difference between black-owned home prices and all home values was around 15 percent and rose to 20 percent by March 2014. At 14 percent, 2 percentage points higher than pre-recession, Latinx-owned home values hit a peak gap between all home values in May 2012.

As subprime loans targeted marginalized populations, the disparity between home prices across races peaked during the housing crash, and, as a result, subsequent foreclosures and declining home values hit Black and Latinx homeowners especially hard. Starting in August 2012, overall U.S. home value growth rebounded to become positive, but it did not turn positive for Black and Latinx homes until two years later.

However, sustained diligence and targeted action by politicians is essential to keep change going for communities of color during these tumultuous times, “Manhertz added.”

With the historic election of Warnock and Ossoff in addition to breaking a 56-year run by Republican legislators and nominating the first Black Senator of the state, Warnock and Ossoff’s success may tip the scales back in favor of the Democrats, ensuring the party has an easier road to passing a host of housing and economic initiatives, including the $2,000 stimulus checks blocked on Dec. 29 by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Georgia’s two Senate seats will be able to dislodge Mitch McConnell on January 20th. The Atlantic political strategist and reporter Russell Berman described in an op-ed published Wednesday that he would be able to remove the most formidable congressional foe of the party from a post where he might have thwarted Biden at almost every turn. The Senate’s democratic influence under the probable majority leader, New York City’s Chuck Schumer, will mean that Biden should be able to get the best out of his cabinet and judiciary.

However, as lawmakers fight over the government’s coronavirus response, stimulus packages, the eviction moratorium, and measures to cancel and freeze leases, Berman and other political reporters and critics have been quick to temper the hopes of Democratic supporters of exactly what Georgia’s runoff results mean for 2021.

Biden will likely need to yield to varying levels of GOP support in the Senate to meet his priorities and promises. Legislation needs 60 votes to clear a senate filibuster, meaning even a Democratic majority would need Republican support for most bills!

Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blocked the CASH Act from going before the senate. The CASH Act has a stronger chance of being passed when the Senate reconvenes after Inauguration Day, with McConnell on the threshold of being dethroned as the majority leader. Expanded unemployment insurance and moratoriums on evictions

On Dec. 29, President Donald Trump signed a $900B COVID-19 relief bill which extended the national eviction moratorium of the Centers for Disease Control, extended unemployment introduced another round of loans for business owners from the Paycheck Protection Program, offered partial debt forgiveness for loans from Small Business Administration and $25B in rental assistance.

“In an emailed statement, CLPHA Executive Director Sunia Zaterman said, “The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) congratulates Raphael Warnock on his historic victory and Jon Ossoff’s election to the United States Senate, thereby ensuring a Democratic Senate majority. “The incoming Biden-Harris administration and Marcia Fudge, HUD Secretary-designate, have now expanded once-in-a-generation opportunities to improve the lives of low-income Americans who were particularly hurt by the pandemic of COVID-19.”

“The first course of action is for Congress to pass a new stimulus relief bill that addresses housing insecurity and homelessness with $50 billion in emergency rental assistance,” Zaterman said. “… CLPHA looks forward to working to make these legislative goals happen with the Biden-Harris administration and the 117th Congress.”

Housing advocacy groups are now exerting pressure with the scales tipping in favor of Biden and Democrats by issuing statements calling for the President-elect to advocate for new legislation that extends the moratorium, further expands unemployment insurance, and offers greater renter assistance in the form of cancellation and freezing rents.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development experienced a 180-degree change under the Trump Administration that resulted in the wholesale repeal or demolition of Obama-era initiatives, including Affordable Housing Affirmatively Promotion.

Biden pledged to reinstate AFFH during his campaign, allocate $640B over the next 10 years to significantly increase the availability of housing throughout the country, provide more comprehensive support for affordable housing initiatives through the Housing Trust Fund, set up “eviction diversion programs” for at-risk tenants, and create emergency funding for housing vouchers and homeless shelters.

He also introduced a $15,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit and vowed to roll-back the tax cuts of President Trump, which could include the reintroduction of mortgage interest deduction laws and local and state taxes.

The nomination of Representative Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH) to lead HUD by Biden came with some criticism, as members of the Black Congressional Caucus advocated for Fudge to lead the United States Department of Agriculture among other Black and progressive political organizations.

Marcia Fudge

“While we believe that Rep. Fudge can excel in any position of leadership, we share the confusion of many about this move and are left to believe that this choice stems from shallow racial stereotypes about the office,” Varshini Prakash, Executive Director of the Sunrise Movement, told USA Today.

If Biden appoints Vilsack to head the USDA, the Black Americans who delivered the election to Joe Biden will be a slap in the face,” she added.” “Vilsack had failed Black farmers before, when other candidates are well qualified for the role, it is not necessary to give him another shot.”

Fudge said she is more than capable of leading HUD, given the pushback, and is eager to cooperate with housing advocates to reactivate HUD’s charge to abolish segregation and discrimination in housing.

“Fudge said of her past work in the same USA Today article, “Everybody knows how passionate I am about feeding hungry kids and school lunches and the kinds of things we do about food and nutrition. “It is a passion of mine. With HUD, I can do so much of the same things.

Biden’s housing proposals would not be an automatic shoo-in, just like more immediate legislative priorities surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, as he has to tackle Republican resistance alongside in-fighting between leftist and centrist democrats who disagree with the future of the country.

“A Guardian article read: “Senate control would give Biden his best shot at signing big new legislation on key issues such as the global emergency, immigration, civil rights, poverty, and racial justice. “But even the two Democratic victories in Georgia does not mean that a progressive legislative agenda could easily be implemented by Biden, because centrist Democrats in the Senate may break with the party in close votes.”

Credits Inman News writers Lillian Dickerson and Marian McPherson