In 1979 I received my Alaska real estate license. I was unaware that only 11 years before the National Association of Realtors had opposed the passage of the Federal Fair Housing Act. And at one time allowed members to be excluded based on race or gender. Thus, the apology from Charlie Oppler, the 2021 incoming president of the National Association of Realtors and I quote “What Realtors did…was a betrayal of our commitment to fairness and equality. It was a part of a systemic policy of residential racial segregation led by the federal government and supported by America’s banking system and real estate industry and driven by practices like redlining.”
I have been extremely fortunate to have had a long and successful career as a female and with an unusual last name. If I experienced prejudice it was from a buyer or seller who never called back or maybe from a broker who referenced my being female as a reason for a recruit not to join my firm. Today, however, the world is different. Major Alaskan real estate brokerages are now owned in whole or in part by women. I’ve not heard the term ‘redlining’ for several decades. In Alaska, I’ve always believed that buyers can purchase any home any where as long as they have the financial resources to do so. BUT, that was not always true. As a residential land developer, I was surprised to have someone point out to me plat C-95 (1949) “The premises hereon concerned shall not be sold or alienated in any manner whatsoever except to Americans of the white race.” This plat note, which still exists, encompasses Block 34 and 35 of Third Addition. Charlie Oppler continued in his apology “Because of our past mistakes, the real estate industry has a special role in the fight for fair housing.’
And that is particularly true in Alaska due to our diverse population. Studies by UAA sociology professor, Chad Farrel, show that Anchorage has some of the most diverse schools in the U.S. at all levels. Minority students compose more than 50% of the student population. It includes African American 4.9%; Alaska Native/American Indian 8.5%; Biracial/Multiracial 15.9% (that’s me!); Hispanic 11.8%; Asian/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 18.5%; Caucasian 40%.
Today’s historic low interest rate allows for more first time homebuyers of all ethnic groups to share in the dream of homeownership. Today, I hope there is not a realtor in Alaska who would not welcome an opportunity to assist them.
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