Black real estate pros on battle lines to preserve property and wealth

Seeking out an African-American real estate professional such as a broker or appraiser continues a tradition that has shaped some of America’s most significant black neighborhoods.  On Monday, August 10, recommends  a call or visit to one of those dedicated independent business owners as the suggested activity for National Black Business Month in August.

The outgoing president of the National Association of Real Estate Professionals told her conference in July, “African-American homeowners continue to be under assault.  The current state of distress can only be reversed with full participation and active collaboration of government at all levels, the financial services industry, housing advocates, and real estate professionals like NAREB committed to preserving minority homeowners equity stake in their homes.”

Walls Come Tumbling Down: State of Black Business, sixth edition includes the most up-to-date statistics on black home ownership and rental patterns by state.

For those who might wonder why it makes a difference to follow the 31 days, 31 ways strategy of National Black Business Month, that advocacy is a very important reason. As the largest and oldest organization of blacks in real estate, NAREB has an easy to navigate search feature to find a black real estate pro anywhere in the country.

Several local NAREB chapter presidents joined in an April letter to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in which they spotlighted “specific attention be made for assets for sale in lower and middle-income census tracks in urban environments. Over the last decades important work has been done to create effective subsidy and financing programs to stabilize formerly distressed neighborhoods and set the pace for their revitalization.”  They recommended a fast-track procedure to bundle those assets so affordable housing groups could assemble resources to keep families in homes.

There are also organizations of African-Americans in commercial and investment real estate such as African-American Real Estate Professionals of D.C. and the African American Economic Development Association of REALTORS and Affiliates (AAEDARA) in Santa Clara, San  Mateo and Alameda Counties of California.

A fast growing sector includes real estate investment pools such as Capri Capitol, led by Quentin Primo. Its $4 billion portfolio includes Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in the midst of Los Angeles’ African-American community and an emerging $2 billion new city development in Saudi Arabia.

That vision is nothing new.  Harlem didn’t just happen. Black developers John Nail and Henry Parker became known as the “Little Fathers of Harlem” as they set the in motion a demographic shift which enabled the Harlem Renaissance, the landmark period of black cultural, literary, and musical expression during the 1920s to take place.

Chicago developer Dempsey Travis fought for expanded access to mortgages in the Windy City, still one of America’s most segregated and underwrote the political career of high school classmate Harold Washington, a mentor to much of the inner circle of the current White House.

The housing crisis also offers opportunities due to low prices and low interest rates, which underscores the importance of working with professionals who understand the character of neighborhoods.  One book on the topic has been written by Larryette Kyle DuBose, the African-American Guide to Real Estate Investing, a topic which has grown in importance as increasing numbers of African-Americans survive far into retirement..  Real estate, where less than five percent of professionals are African-Americans, is also an option to launch a business  with the support of franchises or larger firms when many are seeking second careers. Trainers like Washington, D.C. area expert Kimberly Manning open real estate as a career.

With population loss in urban areas spreading across African-American communities, professionals, developers and investors who connect and share knowledge can forestall the kind of property drain which affected black rural communities in the early 20th century, when an estimated 10 million acres of farm land shrank to fewer than 30,000 farmers in 2002.   One helpful conference will be the third annual  Preserving California Black Heritage Sept. 30-Oct. 2 in San Francisco, the city with the most dramatic loss of black population nationally.

To list a real estate business or any other type of enterprise where black consumers can access the contact information, go to Blackbird Local Business at


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