Empowering AANHPI Communities: The Asian Real Estate Association of America’s Journey

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In the dynamic world of real estate, where homeownership represents a fundamental aspiration, the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) has emerged as a guiding force for the Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community. With a rich history spanning two decades, AREAA has strived to overcome unique barriers faced by AANHPIs and has championed policy changes that empower these communities. As we delve into the story of AREAA’s transformative journey, we witness their unwavering dedication to fostering homeownership opportunities and shaping a brighter future for the AANHPI population.

Paving the Way for Homeownership Success

Founded in 2003, AREAA stands tall as a trade organization with an impressive membership base of approximately 18,000 and 44 chapters across the United States. Their singular mission from the outset has been to increase homeownership opportunities for the AANHPI community. Over the years, their diligent efforts have borne fruit, with the homeownership rate rising from 53% to an impressive 61%. This remarkable achievement is a testament to the collective work of AREAA’s members and partners, who have navigated through a range of barriers that the AANHPIs face, including language access and credit history. Recognizing the diverse subgroups within the AANHPI label, such as Chinese, Filipino, Asian Indians, and Chamorro, AREAA emphasizes the importance of understanding each community’s unique cultural needs, rejecting a “one size fits all” approach.

Advocacy and Policy Victories

Throughout its 20-year history, AREAA has been at the forefront of enacting policy changes that positively impact the AANHPI community. One notable victory is the adoption of alternative credit scoring methods by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). This change is particularly crucial for AANHPI immigrants, who may be averse to debt and have limited exposure to building credit history. By considering rental history, utility payments, and other forms of credit, the mortgage underwriting process becomes more inclusive, opening doors to homeownership for the AANHPI community. Another milestone achieved by AREAA is the establishment of a standalone category for AANHPIs in the quarterly reports published by the US Census. Previously lumped into the generic “other” category, AANHPIs now have their homeownership data recognized, affirming their distinct identity.

Educating and Empowering a Growing Community

With a population projected to double by 2040, the AANHPI community stands as the fastest-growing group in the United States, numbering 21 million strong. Recognizing the importance of catering to this dynamic market, AREAA takes on the responsibility of providing education and support to the real estate community. By debunking stereotypes and dispelling the model minority myth, AREAA strives to bridge the gap between perception and reality. Acknowledging that not all Asians are affluent cash buyers, AREAA’s focus lies in understanding the unique needs and challenges of the AANHPI community to deliver appropriate services and support.

Championing Homeownership Rights

While AREAA celebrates its accomplishments, it acknowledges the persistent challenges faced by the AANHPI community, particularly the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes. Discrimination and safety concerns have prompted a shift in priorities for Asian American homebuyers, as reflected in a recent survey conducted by AREAA. Proximity to quality schools, larger/newer homes, and safety have traditionally been the top considerations, but now they are joined by a desire to move away from discrimination and seek neighborhoods with a higher density of Asian Americans. This emerging trend of migration towards non-traditional metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the middle of the country and the south highlights the impact of anti-Asian rhetoric on housing choices. AREAA remains vigilant, monitoring these trends closely and collaborating with the real estate industry to address the evolving needs of the AANHPI community.

A Journey of Social Justice and Belonging

AREAA finds itself in uncharted territory, engaged in social justice work that amplifies the voices of the AANHPI community and ensures their right to homeownership. The organization’s leaders have embraced this new role, supported by dedicated members and partners, as they navigate the challenging landscape of shelter insecurity caused by hate crimes. As AREAA continues to stand up for homeownership rights, they recognize that advocacy is an invaluable member benefit. By effecting policy changes, AREAA transforms lives through real estate, fulfilling its tagline for the year: “Changing Lives Through Real Estate.” Beyond achieving the American Dream, homeownership fosters a sense of belonging and builds generational wealth, anchoring families to the country they proudly call home.


AREAA’s unwavering commitment to empowering the AANHPI community and its accomplishments in fostering homeownership opportunities are a testament to the organization’s enduring impact. As they celebrate 20 years of shaping real estate landscapes, AREAA remains dedicated to creating a brighter future for the AANHPI population, breaking barriers, advocating for change, and nurturing a sense of belonging in the land of opportunity.

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