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15 February 2008

Of Race in Real Estate

Posted by Nicolai Kolding

As we observe Black History Month, a fundamental question comes to my mind about the continued underrepresentation of African Americans in our industry ranks. According to the 2007 National Association of REALTORS® Members Profile (a survey of nearly 11,000 members), African Americans represent only 4% of all REALTORS®. This is less than 1/3 that of the general population in the U.S. (Census, 2000).

There are positive signs: for example, the percentage of African Americans in the industry nearly doubles when looking at the younger generation (under 39). And it cannot go unmentioned that NAR has attracted a diverse group to its leadership, including a President-Elect (chosen by its 1.3 million REALTORS®) who is African American.

I still think we as an industry owe it to ourselves to look in the mirror, recognize that our general membership is not reflective of the country’s demographics, and simply ask, “Why?”

In speaking this morning with Steve Murray, a top industry consultant and owner of REAL Trends, he could not recall this topic being covered at a national conference. I think it warrants an open forum so we as an industry can investigate the question in an open-minded way.

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