According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), white real estate brokers make about three times more than their Black counterparts, per the New York Times. The median sales volume for Black real estate agents lands at $474,500 compared to $1,998,000 for white agents, NAR reports.
Black people make up 14 percent of America’s population but only account for 6 percent of real estate agents and brokers.
The disparity is largely attributed to discrimination that has persisted in the market for decades.
Black agents were blocked from becoming members of NAR and having access to its perks until 1961. Despite the bar being lifted, the organization continued to oppose and lobby against the Fair Housing Act well after it outlawed housing discrimination in 1968.
Residences owned by Black people continue to be undervalued, with pricing 23 percent lower than white-owned homes, which has led to a smaller pool of clientele and less commission for Black agents.
Lydia Pope, the president of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, a group created in 1947 for Black brokers and agents turned away by NAR, told the New York Times that police once swarmed her listing in a majority-white neighborhood in Cleveland.
“I showed them the computer, the information on my phone,” Pope recalled of the 2017 incident. “I showed them the work order that I had. I showed them my business card, my license, everything, and they ran my plate.”
The situation ended amicably, but Pope said she was so disturbed that she gave her listing back and never returned.
In 2020, NAR apologized for previously backing discriminatory housing policies. The organization has launched the ACT initiative to hold bad actors accountable. Still, a number of Black agents say they want more action to be taken.