Twin Cities’ First Diversity Homeownership Fair Aims to Close Wealth Gap
For the first time, four groups of Twin Cities real estate agents are coming together to host an event aimed at demystifying the home buying process and closing racial wealth gaps.
Called the Twin Cities Diversity Homeownership Fair, organizers said they aim to narrow the racial gap in homeownership.
“It’s up to us to put our boots on the ground and do the hard work of educating people and leveraging resources and making sure we open the doors and provide every opportunity for people of color to buy homes in the Twin Cities,” said Cameron Perket, Twin Cities president of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, a black business group.
Owning a home is a key path to building wealth for most Americans because paying for a property acts like a forced savings account with the potential for appreciation.
Perket said the fair, to be held at the Wellstone Center near the airport in downtown St. Paul, also brings action to discussions about reducing economic disparities that have grown in the Twin Cities business community. after the 2020 police killing of George Floyd.
The fair will feature five educational breakout sessions in English, Spanish and Hmong; free food truck meals for registered participants; babysitting service; soccer clinics by the Sanneh Foundation; wellness checks by Minnesota Care Clinic and nearly 100 providers.
For real estate professionals, there will be an unconscious bias course approved by the state Department of Commerce for 2.5 continuing education credits.
Other groups hosting the event are the Asian Real Estate Association of America Twin Cities, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals Twin Cities, and the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance of Minnesota.
Households of color lag behind white households in homeownership in the Twin Cities and throughout Minnesota. Last month, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis released research that found racial minorities in the Twin Cities remain far more likely than white people to be denied a mortgage.
Nationally, the black homeownership rate is about 43%. In Minnesota, it is only 25%.
Some of these disparities have been perpetuated by discriminatory practices by banks and developers. Decades ago, developers often used covenants to prohibit anyone who was not white from owning or residing in the homes and neighborhoods they built.
The practice became illegal in Minnesota in 1962, but impacted generations by creating a segregated metropolitan area and resulting in lingering racial disparities in homeownership.
“Discrimination and racism in general are still woven into the fabric of our real estate market,” Perket said. “It may not be as front and center, but it still happens in a more passive and aggressive way.”
Saturday’s Twin Cities Diversity Homeownership Fair begins with registration at 9 a.m. and programming from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Wellstone Center, 179 Robie Street, St. Paul.