One Step Toward Reducing the Homeownership Gap in Oregon
(May 28, 2021)
Salem, OR – June is Homeownership month, and the Oregon REALTORS® understands that the past year has been hard for individuals trying to purchase a home. To better serve homebuyers in Oregon, the Oregon REALTORS®, in partnership with the Oregon Bankers Association, have put together an extensive list of national, state, and county resources for homebuyers, located at www.oregonrealtors.org/homebuyer-resources.
“We hope buyers (and buyers’ agents) can use this resource to help make homeownership an attainable dream for Oregonians,” says LaTasha Beal, Oregon REALTORS® Diversity Committee Vice-Chair and Principal Broker for Keller Williams Sunset Corridor. “As the diversity committee, we’re striving to increase representation and mentorship in Oregon’s real estate industry and helping REALTORS® in supporting diverse and underserved communities achieve their dreams of home ownership.”
The page also features a “Find a REALTOR®” tool that lets buyers identify REALTORS® who have specific designations/certifications, such as Military Relocation Specialist, or the At Home with Diversity certification, which is specialized training that helps identify and provide solutions for roadblocks to homeownership in underserved populations.
Homebuyers can also search for REALTORS® by language. This will help homebuyers find REALTORS® who speak the top five languages in Oregon besides English, including Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, and Russian.
The page includes organizations that provide down payment assistance programs, help navigating the homebuying process, credit counseling, and aid for specific groups, such as veterans or Native Americans. “These homebuyer and down payment assistance resources existed, and as industry experts, we were unaware of many of them,” says 2021 Diversity Committee Chair Alex Phan of Keller Williams Realty Professionals. “That needed to be remedied. We set out to build something that would make these resources easier to find and share.”
This page provides a place for potential homebuyers to find counseling, support, and financial resources to empower homeownership, but can also help address the racial homeownership gap in Oregon, as identified by a 2019 housing study.“Homeownership is the number-one way to build generational wealth,” explains diversity committee member Tony Kelly, Principal Broker for Keller Williams Portland Premiere, TLK Group Properties. “When joining the diversity committee, addressing the racial disparity in homeownership was one of my main priorities because I want to see the wealth gap disappear.”
Reducing and ending racial disparity in housing has been also identified as the National Association of REALTORS® priority goal in 2021. “This is a small step we plan to build off of, but we hope it empowers more potential home buyers,” says Beal.
Visit the Homeownership Resources page at www.oregonrealtors.org/homebuyer-resources.