Like many other organizations in recent years, MAR has been reckoning with our history on race. This apology is the cumulative result of months of work by a member task force representing MAR’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Government Affairs committees. Informed by extensive research and stakeholder input, these documents establish the record of discrimination by MAR and the real estate industry which has prevented equal access to homeownership. Most importantly, it’s a call to action for ourselves and others to do the work that’s needed to achieve an equitable housing market for all people. We’re grateful to our partners at AREAA, NAHREP, and NAREB for signing on to a letter of support of this work.
When we released our apology in October 2022, we committed to immediate action through an initial wave of policy proposals. We’re happy to report that all four of these proposals are either now completed or in action, as committed. Stay tuned for more updates on these policies, as well as our next wave of proposals in 2023.
MAR Members Advocating for Federal Policy Change — MAR members recommended to the National Association of REALTORS® to adopt a standing public policy supporting the development of a federal down payment assistance program focusing on first-time and first-generation homebuyers. A more generalized version of that recommendation focusing on federal down payment assistance without targeting first-time or first-generation homebuyers was subsequently passed by the NAR Board of Directors during the November 2022 Governance meeting, and now stands as official NAR Policy Position.
Purchase Agreements Forms Change — MAR has incorporated the August 1, 2022, change to Purchase Agreements into our communications and education to inform members (1) disclosure of any down payment assistance is no longer required on the forms, and (2) how the previous practice of requiring disclosure of assistance presented the potential for discriminatory decisions in real estate transactions, disproportionately impacting buyers of color. This education will help ensure Realtors® understand both the nature of their current tools, as well as how discriminatory practices have been institutionalized in the industry, inadvertently or not.
New Member Orientation Updated — MAR has added significant content around educating Realtors® about the racial housing gap into our required New Member Orientation. The approach to adding this content has been holistic, meaning that it is not only a standalone segment, but rather embedded throughout the orientation providing a racial justice lens to help new Realtors® understand the disparities in homeownership. Every new member who joins MAR going forward will learn about the historical context, association accountability, and current status of the racial homeownership gaps in Minnesota.
MAR Commitment to Pathways to Achievement Program — Minnesota Realtors® Pathways to Achievement program is designed to promote diversity within the profession by engaging more people of color and in a manner designed to enhance the long-term success in the real estate profession. MAR was a founding partner of this program, and we committed to increasing our support of the Pathway program by 50%, supporting six new Realtors® up from four. Pathways to Achievement received five qualified applicants for 2023, and all will receive funding support. This support covers association dues for the first year of membership, up to six months of MLS and lockbox fees, and educational and networking opportunities. MAR will continue to strive to grow our applicant pool in the future, proactively.
Letter of Apology
As one of the longest-standing Realtor® associations, we continue to reckon with our role in building injustice into history. To be specific, we must acknowledge and apologize for the hand the Minneapolis Area REALTORS® Association had in creating one of the most significant racial disparities in housing gaps in the nation—particularly for Black Minnesotans. We know we’ve benefited from a system that was set up to effectively lock folks out of opportunity based on race, for generations. Decades later, that system works largely as intended, and we are ashamed of our part in it. We were on the wrong side of history.
Our goals as an association are based in promoting strong, vibrant, sustainable communities. Our actions and inactions have caused us to fall short of realizing that mission. In fact, since its peak in the 1950s, the homeownership rate for Black Minnesotans has actually declined by a significant stretch (46% to 25%) rather than improved. We also know that real estate is one of the biggest wealth-building opportunities there is—by building barriers to it, we also built into the broader systemic oppression of people of color.
Though our membership only just recently elected our first Black President in the 135th year of our association, we are now beginning to reflect the diversity of our membership (and of our city) at the leadership level. And today, we’re making significant shifts in our own association that prioritize education around institutionalized racism in real estate, and support for opportunities for people of color. But it’s not enough. We’re also challenging ourselves to take action beyond our Association—we commit to championing policy proposals that will help remove barriers to homeownership for Black buyers and other people of color. Shame and sincerity alone don’t create meaningful change—we’re committed to making strides at the local, state, and national level around policies and practices.
And we are ready to listen. In creating these policy proposals, we are engaging communities who have been impacted by our discriminatory history and collaborating with experts in related industries and our own. We are committed to dismantling the harmful systems we helped build, and to working toward a day where fair housing is truly guaranteed for all. We hope you’ll join us.
Minneapolis Area REALTORS® Taskforce on Racial Disparities in Homeownership
Jackie Berry – 2022 Board Director and Chair, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee
Pat Paulson – 2022 Board Director and 2021 Government Affairs Committee
Jen Piller Quade – 2022 Board Director and 2021 Chair, Government Affairs Committee
Doneva Rawls – 2021 Board Director and 2021 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee
Henry Rucker – 2021 Chair, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee
Sheree Steele – 2021-2022 Government Affairs Committee
Denise Mazone, 2022 President
Carrie Chang, Chief Executive Officer
Position Statement & Policy Proposals
For more information:
- Please see our accompanying position statement on the issue:
MAR Position on Racial Disparities in Homeownership
- View our four detailed initial policy proposals here:
MAR Policy Proposals
Real Estate Community Partners
Thank you to these partners in the Realtor® association community for their review and support of this apology. We look forward to continued collaboration as we work to create an equitable real estate industry for all people.
Sign On Your Support
Are you interested in supporting this work?
We invite MAR broker offices and partner organizations to click below and indicate your support for this apology, and our ongoing work to close the homeownership gap in Minnesota. We will highlight your support on this page.
Broker and Partner Supporters
Minneapolis Area Realtors apologizes for role in racial disparities in homeownership, announces changes
MSP Business Journal
Minneapolis Area Realtors apologizes for role in historic racism in housing
Finance & Commerce
Minneapolis Area Realtors issue statement apologizing for discrimination in real estate
Minneapolis Realtors apologize for racial discrimination in real estate
Minneapolis Real Estate Group Apologizes for Racial Discrimination
Twin Cities Business
Twin Cities real estate agents apologize for their role in homeownership gap
Minneapolis Realtors pledge to work to close the racial divide in homeownership
Minneapolis realtors apologize for racially discriminatory practices: “We need to do something”
Minneapolis Area Realtors association acknowledges history of perpetuating racial bias
Realtors group apologizes for its role racially segregating Twin Cities housing
Minneapolis Association apologizes for Past Discrimination, Vows Corrective Action
Minneapolis realtors apologize for racial disparities in real estate and call for a change
Mpls realtors renounce years of housing discrimination
Minnesota Spokesman Recorder