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New Documentary Chronicles How Racial Disparity Impacts POC in the Housing Market

According to the NCRC, as of March 2021, the rate for African American homeownership ranges from 42% – 45% and appears similar to the rates reported decades earlier. The chasm of inequality has only widened throughout the past few years. If the Black homeownership rate rose to 60%, it's believed this crucial change would alter the trajectory of wealth and housing in African American communities.

The new ABC documentary Our America: Low Balled chronicles how racial disparity directly impacts people of color in the housing market by following the lives of The Austins and other families as they combat appraisal discrimination in California and Indiana.

Much to the Austins' disconcertion, their house only sold when all ethnic items were removed, and a caucasian friend stood as a proxy during the appraisal. This resulted in the value of their home rising to almost $500,000.

A 2018 report from the Brookings Institution estimates that homes in predominantly Black neighborhoods are devalued by $156 billion, an average of $48,000 per home. This amount is enough to finance 8 million four-year degrees and cover nearly all Hurricane Katrina damage. This is vital equity Black families lack access to in order to pay for college, start businesses, remodel homes or create a nest egg for future generations creating intergenerational wealth.

The Austins' story deeply resonated with many and compelled others who have shared similar

experiences to come forward in hopes of changing the narrative. This enlightening documentary executive produced by regional Emmy-winner Julian Glover informs audiences of steps to be taken if facing appraisal discrimination and strives to garner support from political leaders to incite change.

“Many are familiar with the Austins, a Black family in California who had the appraised value of their home jump nearly $500,000 after whitewashing their house—stripping it of family photos, artwork, even toiletries—and having a friend, who is white, stand in during the appraisal,” Glover said in a statement. “When we broke the Austins’ story, countless families across the country came forward with similar experiences. Through this documentary, we are giving a voice to those who believe they have been hit by appraisal discrimination, equipping viewers with information needed to take action if they are lowballed, and engaging federal leaders to fix this problem that has been robbing Black and Latino families of billions in equity for generations.”

This reporting on the devaluation of Black and Latino homes has spurred new state laws and led President Biden to create the Property Appraisal Valuation Equity task force to identify solutions to root out appraisal bias. In addition, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, also featured in the documentary, introduced legislation to combat appraisal bias with the Fair Appraisal and Inequity Reform legislation.

Our America: Low Balled debuts December 2 and will be available for streaming on

popular platforms such as Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku and Hulu. A cable release is slated for the weekend of December 5th on eight ABC stations.

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Sep 20, 2023


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