HouseCanary's Automated Valuation Tools Prove Significantly More Effective at Removing Racial Bias Against Minorities When Compared to Traditional Appraisals

New Study Finds No Evidence of Racial Bias in HouseCanary’s Automated Comparable Selection and AVM Tools

Highlights That HouseCanary’s Valuation Technology Continues to Be Fair as The Percentage of Racial Minorities in a Locale Increases

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–HouseCanary, Inc. (“HouseCanary”), a national brokerage known for its real estate valuation technology and accuracy, today released the results of a study entitled “Reducing Racial Bias in Home Appraisals Using Automated Valuation Technology.” The full study can be viewed here.

 

In September 2021, Freddie Mac published a report, titled “Racial and Ethnic Valuation Gaps in Home Purchase Appraisals,” which found severe and systemic bias present in property appraisals, concluding that – through the traditional appraisal process – racial minorities are more likely to receive an appraisal value that is lower than the price the property was sold for.

HouseCanary, which has developed industry-leading valuation technology, conducted a statistical study to measure the accuracy of its automated valuation model (“AVM”) and comparable (“comp”) property selection tools in appraising homes in minority neighborhoods. In particular, HouseCanary sought to determine whether use of its automated property valuation technology could mitigate the effects of appraisal bias highlighted in the Freddie Mac report.

Based on a thorough assessment of its automated valuation technology, HouseCanary’s study resulted in the following key findings:

  • AVMs are more reliable tools for providing a fair valuation compared to traditional appraisals. When sufficient data is available to support an AVM for a property, HouseCanary’s research has proven it is a more reliable tool for providing a fair valuation than a traditional appraisal.
  • No evidence of racial bias exists in HouseCanary’s automated comp and AVM tools. This stands in stark contrast to the results of Freddie Mac’s examination of traditional appraisals, which found that “Black and Latino applicants receive lower appraisal values than the contract price more often than White applicants.”
  • HouseCanary’s comp-based and AVM values are fair to homeowners when neighborhoods are more diverse. HouseCanary’s research found that its comp-based and AVM values tend to become more favorable to homeowners as the percentage of racial minorities in a tract increases. On the contrary, Freddie Mac found that in traditional appraisals, the discrepancy between appraisal value and sales price “increases as the percentage of Black or Latino people in the tract increases.” For example, Freddie Mac’s report demonstrated how as the threshold of minorities increases (e.g., from 50% to 80%), traditional appraisal data becomes more unfair, whereas HouseCanary’s models tend to favor minority homeowners as the percentage of minority ownership in a tract increases.

Jeremy Sicklick, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Appraisal bias affects thousands of minority American families every year, resulting in the pervasive undervaluation of Black and Latino-owned homes, as Freddie Mac uncovered in its report on the traditional appraisal process earlier this year. At HouseCanary, we have built and developed industry-leading valuation technology to provide highly accurate, objective property information for all. The results of our assessment clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of automated valuation tools in reducing racial bias and discrimination compared to traditional appraisals. We believe this research is extremely promising for the future of the real estate industry, with the potential to catalyze systemic change and promote equality throughout the entire homeownership journey.”

Additional findings can be reviewed in the full study here.

About HouseCanary

Founded in 2013, valuation-focused real estate brokerage HouseCanary empowers consumers, financial institutions, investors, and mortgage lenders, with industry-leading valuations, forecasts, and transaction support. These clients trust HouseCanary to fuel acquisition, underwriting, portfolio management, and more. Learn more at www.housecanary.com.

If you are currently working with a real estate agent, this is not meant as a solicitation of your business.

HouseCanary, Inc. is a Licensed Real Estate Brokerage in KS, NM, SC and under the Trade Name ComeHome in AL, AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MO, MN, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY.

Trade Name ComeHome Real Estate in MI and UT.

Trade Name ComeHome by HouseCanary in AR.

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AVM Disclosure: An AVM is an estimated sale price for a property. It is not the same as the opinion of value in an appraisal developed by a licensed appraiser under the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice.

Contact

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Casie Connolly / Bela Kirpalani

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