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JPMorgan Chase Expands Homeownership and Wealth Building Opportunities to Tackle Heirs Property and Appraisal Reform Across the Country

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JPMorgan Chase has committed over $9.6 million to support heirs property challenges and appraisal reform across the United States. This initiative seeks to preserve homeownership and generational wealth in underserved communities by providing free legal assistance, appraisal reform, and estate planning services. This includes a $3 million commitment to the Appraisal Diversity Initiative to attract diverse entrants into the residential appraisal field. Additionally, JPMorgan Chase is partnering with organizations like the Brookings Institution and Alcorn State University to conduct research and provide policy recommendations. The firm also highlighted the significant economic impact of heirs property issues, estimating over $32 billion in affected properties across 44 states and Washington, D.C.

Positive
  • JPMorgan Chase has committed $9.6 million to support legal assistance, appraisal reform, and estate planning services in underserved communities.
  • The firm dedicated $3 million to the Appraisal Diversity Initiative to attract diverse entrants into the residential appraisal field.
  • The initiative supports eight organizations working to preserve homeownership opportunities in key U.S. regions.
  • Over 700 scholarships have been supported by Chase, with 66 scholars now working as appraisers across the country.
  • The initiative addresses the significant economic impact of heirs property issues, impacting over $32 billion in property value across 44 states.
Negative
  • The heirs property issues leave residents vulnerable to foreclosure, tax sales, and investors attempting to buy homes below market value.
  • The significant economic impact of heirs property issues includes over $400 million in affected property values in Georgia alone.

JPMorgan Chase's commitment of $9.6M to support heirs property and appraisal reform will have important financial implications for both the firm and the communities it aims to serve. For JPMorgan Chase, this move enhances their corporate social responsibility profile, which can bolster investor confidence as firms with strong ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) profiles tend to attract more long-term investments. Additionally, addressing appraisal bias and heirs property issues opens up new market opportunities, making the lending landscape fairer and more transparent.

For the communities, the funding could stabilize housing markets by reducing the undervaluation of properties and increasing homeownership retention rates. By tackling appraisal bias, property values in underserved communities may rise, which can positively impact equity and wealth accumulation for homeowners. However, the effectiveness of these initiatives hinges on the successful implementation and measurable outcomes, which need to be monitored closely.

In the short term, investors might view this as a cost to the firm's bottom line, but in the long term, such initiatives can lead to a more inclusive and stable housing market, potentially reducing default rates and increasing market stability.

The initiatives aiming to combat heirs property and appraisal bias are likely to have a substantial impact on the real estate market, particularly in underserved areas. Heirs property refers to properties that are informally inherited, usually without proper legal documentation, which can lead to ownership disputes and hinder the ability to sell or improve the property. By providing free legal assistance and estate planning, JPMorgan Chase is helping to clarify property ownership, making it easier for families to maintain and pass down their homes.

Appraisal reform is also critical as it addresses the undervaluation of properties in minority communities. Historically, properties in Black and Latino neighborhoods have been systematically undervalued, which has hampered wealth building. By supporting diversity initiatives in the appraisal profession and promoting fair valuation practices, these efforts could lead to a fairer and more equitable housing market.

In terms of long-term impact, reducing heirs property issues and appraisal bias can increase property values and homeownership rates, thus contributing to the overall health of the real estate market. However, these reforms must be accompanied by continuous education and robust policy enforcement to ensure lasting change.

JPMorgan Chase's initiative to allocate $9.6M towards heirs property issues and appraisal bias fundamentally aims to preserve generational wealth in underserved communities. Projects like these are cornerstones for community development and can have lasting social and economic benefits. Heirs property is often a barrier to accessing financial services, disaster relief and other critical resources, making it a pressing issue for community stability and growth. By addressing these challenges, JPMorgan Chase is not only enhancing homeownership but also community resilience.

The inclusion of community-based organizations and local stakeholders in this initiative is vital for its success. These groups have a deep understanding of local issues and can provide tailored solutions that larger entities might overlook. Furthermore, the initiative's focus on policy reform suggests a sustainable approach, aiming to create systemic changes rather than temporary fixes.

Short-term benefits are likely to include increased legal clarity and immediate stabilization of property ownership. Long-term, the program could lead to enhanced community cohesion and economic empowerment, fostering environments where wealth can be built and sustained across generations. The holistic support from legal services to policy advocacy makes this a comprehensive approach to addressing longstanding inequities in property ownership and valuation.

 More than $9.6M in funding will support free legal assistance, appraisal reform and estate planning services in underserved communities

ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- JPMorgan Chase is expanding its commitment to tackle heirs property challenges across the country through a combined expansion of philanthropic capital, business investments and policy recommendations. At a convening in Atlanta with leading policy experts and community partners in the housing space, the firm announced more than $9.6M in philanthropic commitments to eight organizations across the United States working to preserve homeownership opportunities in Georgia, New York, Jacksonville, FL, Pittsburgh, PA and Washington, D.C. This effort is part of the firm’s ongoing commitment to preserve generational wealth building opportunities through homeownership for underserved communities nationwide.

The grantees, a combination of community-based organizations, legal service providers and universities, as well as Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), will focus on tackling heirs property and appraisal bias issues. Both are major contributors to the loss of wealth in underserved communities and disproportionately impact Black, Latino, Hispanic, low-income and low-wealth families in both rural and urban communities.

In addition to philanthropic capital, Chase Home Lending continues to deliver progress on bringing more diversity to the field of residential property appraisers. The firm committed $3M to the Appraisal Diversity Initiative, a nationwide effort to attract diverse new entrants into the residential appraisal field through education, training and resource support. Since the program’s inception, Chase has supported more than 700 scholarships with 66 scholars now working as appraisers across the country. In Atlanta, 18 scholars are in the program and six graduates are currently working as appraisers.

The Economic Consequences of Heirs Property and Appraisal Bias

Heirs property, also known as a “tangled title,” occurs when a homeowner dies without a will and their property is informally inherited by multiple descendants, regardless of whether they live on the property or have paid taxes. According to national estimates, the total assessed value of properties impacted by heirs issues is estimated to be over $32 billion across 44 states and Washington, D.C. In Georgia, over $400 million in assessed property values are impacted due to heirs issues.

Left unaddressed, heirs property creates unstable homeownership, making it difficult for residents to pass on property to the next generation, access disaster assistance programs that help pay for home repairs or property tax relief. The situation leaves people vulnerable to a range of potential repercussions, including foreclosure, tax sales and being the target of investors attempting to buy a home below market value.

"Safe, affordable homeownership opportunities are foundational for creating thriving and healthy communities," said Abigail Suarez, Head of Neighborhood Development, Corporate Responsibility, JPMorgan Chase. "We need to be intentional about scaling solutions that address heirs' property issues and empowering people to maintain homeownership from one generation to the next. Today’s commitments are part of the firm’s holistic approach to mobilizing resources and expertise to address this issue in Atlanta and communities across the country.”

“We’re proud to see progress with our appraisal reform efforts, recognizing this is just the beginning of effecting change within the industry,” said Sean Grzebin, Head of Consumer Originations and Transformation, Chase Home Lending. “We’re also committed to helping more homebuyers, in Atlanta and across the country, to avoid the negative consequences of heirs property and preserve their generational wealth by identifying innovative business solutions.”

An Expanded Philanthropic Approach

JPMorgan Chase has committed over $9.6 million in philanthropic capital to the following organizations to tackle heirs property challenges and appraisal bias through research, legal services and estate planning clinics and market-based innovations. Grantees include:

  • Initiative on Land, Housing, & Property Rights at Boston College ($2M): The Initiative at Boston College, founded and led by national heirs property expert Professor Thomas W. Mitchell, will produce research and policy recommendations to preserve and expand property rights for underserved communities. The Initiative will also engage in community outreach and train law students, which will enhance national awareness about heirs property challenges and solutions.
  • Alcorn State University Foundation ($300K): The SDFR Policy Center located at Alcorn State University will lead a team to conduct research and outline recommendations for the ethical use of public heirs property data in order to protect vulnerable heirs property owners from being exploited by those seeking to acquire properties at below market value.
  • Federation of Southern Cooperatives Land Assistance Fund ($150K): The Federation, a regional cooperative and rural economic development organization, will expand their legal assistance with rural landowners in seven Southeastern U.S. states—including Georgia—and uses these types of insights to bolster its research and educational efforts that support impacted individuals and communities.
  • The Brookings Institution and Economic Architecture ($2.3M): Economic Architecture and the Brookings Institution have partnered to launch the second iteration of the Valuing Homes in Black Communities challenge, which will identify the most promising market- and policy-based structural innovations to address the devaluation of homes in Black neighborhoods.
  • LISC Jacksonville ($500K): LISC Jacksonville, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), is expanding their Heirs Property and Family Wealth Creation programs, a comprehensive model that preserves homeownership and increases home equity by addressing heirs property through free estate planning assistance and legal services for local families.
  • Howard University Legal Clinic ($500K): Howard University has established an estate planning and heirs property legal clinic that trains future attorneys and provides free legal services to Washington, D.C. and Maryland residents. Since launching in 2023, the clinic has supported over 75 clients and trained 20 students.
  • Center for NYC Neighborhoods ($889K): The Center, a community-based non-profit organization, is working to build capacity to deliver free estate planning and raise awareness about its importance among Black homeowners in Brooklyn and the Bronx.
  • Catapult Greater Pittsburgh ($3M): Catapult, a community-based nonprofit organization, is expanding their Clinic for Legal Equity and Repair (CLEAR), which supports people living in Allegheny County who do not have a legal title to the property in their name. CLEAR participants are eligible for home repairs, title clearance, and estate planning to ensure they can grow their wealth and transfer assets across generations. Catapult will also acquire and rehab vacant or abandoned properties in the community in an effort to stabilize neighborhoods.

Advancing Policy Solutions to Preserve Generational Wealth through Homeownership

JPMorgan Chase is also advancing homeownership and wealth preservation through data-driven policy solutions and research. Last year, the JPMorgan Chase PolicyCenter released two briefs outlining recommendations to prevent and resolve heirs property cases and solutions to advance affordable, sustainable homeownership. To build on these initial recommendations, the PolicyCenter released two new briefs spotlighting best practices and policy reform opportunities that reduce barriers to generational wealth building.

  • The Supporting Heirs Property Owners Through National Disaster and Resiliency Programs brief explores policy interventions to protect heirs property owners before and after natural disasters. Many heirs property owners have been unable to access disaster assistance due to ownership requirements. As natural disasters increase in frequency and intensity – creating challenges for homeowners and communities nationwide – JPMorgan Chase supports federal, state and local policy interventions to help homeowners repair their homes, stabilize neighborhoods, and build community resilience.
  • The Solutions to Build Household Wealth by Addressing the Undervaluation of Property brief features JPMorgan Chase’s leading role to reduce bias in home valuations. This includes business practices, philanthropic partnerships, and policy recommendations that focus on: modernizing appraisal processes, enhancing valuation methods, increasing training and diversity, addressing industry standards, and building consumer awareness.

Quotes from Our Partners

Public private partnerships are key to driving impact at scale. Below are quotes from a few partners JPMorgan Chase is working with:

Professor Thomas Mitchell, Director of the Initiative on Land, Housing & Property Rights at Boston College

  • "The substantial grant JPMorgan Chase has made to help dramatically increase the research and policy development capacity of our Initiative on Land, Housing, & Property Rights will significantly increase our ability to make a greater impact on addressing a range of housing and property matters disadvantaged communities experience, including a number of vexing heirs' property matters. We truly appreciate JPMorgan Chase's support and hope this grant represents the cornerstone of a lasting partnership."

Ruth Gao, Associate General Counsel, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

  • “Helping people stay in their homes by addressing heirs’ property issues is crucial for preserving intergenerational wealth—and, by extension, families’ health and wellbeing. Cross-sector collaboration is critical to continuing this work and effecting change, and we are proud to work with organizations like JPMorgan Chase to drive momentum to preserve homeownership across communities.”

Reggie O’Shields, Chief Legal and Compliance Officer for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta

  • “The Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta is pleased to partner with organizations like JPMorgan Chase to address the pervasive issue of heirs property. We will continue to support initiatives to resolve tangled titles, execute wills, and provide property financial literacy training, all of which contribute to generational wealth building and strengthen communities.”

 

Gabriela Alba

gabriela.alba@jpmchase.com

862-347-1709

Source: JPMorgan Chase

FAQ

What is JPMorgan Chase's recent commitment to heirs property challenges?

JPMorgan Chase has committed over $9.6 million to support heirs property challenges and appraisal reform across the United States.

How much did JPMorgan Chase commit to the Appraisal Diversity Initiative?

JPMorgan Chase committed $3 million to the Appraisal Diversity Initiative.

What is the economic impact of heirs property issues, according to JPMorgan Chase?

According to JPMorgan Chase, heirs property issues impact over $32 billion in property value across 44 states and Washington, D.C.

Which organizations are part of JPMorgan Chase's commitment to heirs property and appraisal reform?

The commitment includes partnerships with organizations like the Brookings Institution, Alcorn State University, and Catapult Greater Pittsburgh.

How many scholarships has JPMorgan Chase supported in the appraisal field?

JPMorgan Chase has supported over 700 scholarships, with 66 scholars now working as appraisers across the country.

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