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Center for Policy Research

Property Tax Web Series

Do Appraiser and Borrower Race Affect Valuation?

Edward Coulson, Brent W. Ambrose, James N. Conklin, Moussa Diop, and Luis A. Lopez

January 2023


We examine the incidence of racial bias in property appraisals using a nationwide sample of refinanced mortgages from 2000 to 2007. Uniquely, our data allow us to observe the race of both the homeowner and the appraiser in a setting where the appraiser’s valuation conveys critical information to the lender. We observe systematically lower appraised values relative to automated valuation model (AVM) estimates for minority-owned homes. However, we do not find evidence that minority valuation discounts vary with the race of the appraiser. After adjusting for potential bias in the AVM estimates, we find even larger minority valuation discounts.

This paper was presented by Edward Coulson (University of California, Irvine) on January 27, 2023 as part of the 2022-2023 Syracuse-Chicago Webinar Series on Property Tax Administration and Design. Troup Howard (University of Utah) was the discussant for this presentation. Howard comments on Coulson's "Do Appraiser and Borrower Race Affect Valuation?" 

This Syracuse-Chicago Webinar Series on Property Tax Administration and Design aims to gather insight and scholarship through domestic and international comparative studies with common threads to help reform and improve property tax administration and design in the U.S. and other countries facing similar problems.

For questions about the webinars, please contact Zia Jackson. For questions about this paper, please contact the author or authors.

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