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Minneapolis Area Realtors issue statement apologizing for discrimination in real estate

The realtor group announced "their profound regret for discriminatory practices that have denied equal access to housing."

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minneapolis Area Realtors (MAR) announced an apology for discriminatory practices in real estate at a news conference Wednesday and outlined policy changes to increase homeownership among people of color.

Black Minnesotans' homeownership rate is more than 50% lower than white households and the gap has been getting bigger since the 1950s, according to the MAR news release.

"Our apology and efforts to engage in policy change are overdue and are important steps for us because of the deep and lasting impact our actions have had on people of color in Minnesota, especially Black Minnesotans," said MAR President Denise Mazone in a news release. "We have one of the largest homeownership gaps in the country. Not only do we regret the industry's role in that, but we also know we must do something to change that." 

MAR's Board of Directors approved these four police changes, according to the release:  

1.    Update MAR's classes on the state's purchase agreement forms to connect the removal of language regarding down payment sources to the issue of racial discrimination. 

2.    Educate all incoming realtors about racism in real estate and the association's responsibility to reduce the racial gap in homeownership and collaborate with the Minnesota Realtors Association on education in this area. 

3.    Expand MAR's funding of Pathway to Achievement scholarship candidates to increase the participation of those from racial minority groups in the realtor profession. 

4.    Recommend that the National Association of Realtors adopt a public policy supporting development of a Federal Down Payment Assistance program for first-time and first-generation homebuyers. 

Officials added that these four steps would be followed by more policy recommendations in the future. 

MAR was established in 1887 and serves more than 9,000 realtors in the Twin Cities metro area.

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