This is the second in a series of profiles of the multicultural allied real estate associations in Texas.
Asian Real Estate Association of America
- Founded: 2003
- Mission: AREAA is dedicated to promoting sustainable homeownership opportunities in Asian American communities by creating a powerful national voice for housing and real estate professionals that serve this dynamic market.
- Focus: Advocacy to reduce barriers to AAPI homeownership, increasing business opportunities, networking, educational events, trade missions to build partnerships
- Membership: More than 17,000 in U.S. and Canada
- Local chapters in Texas: 4
- Website: areaa.org
Founded in 2003, the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) promotes sustainable homeownership for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by advocating for AAPI communities and real estate professionals.
The nonprofit trade organization has four Texas chapters and welcomes professionals who want to do business with Asian communities in the U.S. and abroad, says Dawn Lin, Houston chapter founding president and chairwoman emeritus.
“Asian Americans want to be heard, and AREAA provides a channel to voice our thoughts to elected officials. It is important to show up in the halls of government and to show that we care,” Lin says.
The Asian American and Pacific Islander population is composed of many different ethnicities. The community represents 5.8% of the U.S. population and has grown 25% since the 2010 census, according to AREAA’s 2019-20 State of Asia America Report. Texas is home to approximately 1.5 million AAPI residents; the community has a 59.1% homeownership rate, compared to the 66.3% homeownership rate for all Texans.
Advocacy is a critical focus for AREAA. Local chapters communicate with Texas lawmakers, and in years past, AREAA representatives traveled to Washington, D.C., in May to lobby Congress. AREAA advocates for using alternate ways to track creditworthiness, expanded government language and translation resources, and enacting laws that promote diversity and inclusivity. As a group, the AAPI community tends to avoid lots of debt, which means they have a limited credit history with which to prove creditworthiness.
A recent success story was asking the U.S. Census Bureau to break down the All Other Races category data to show Asian and Pacific Islander homeownership in its quarterly reporting.
“When we are lumped into the Other group, we cannot tell if we are doing well or need help. It’s difficult to tell without disaggregated data,” Lin says.
Census data for the second quarter of 2020 showed the AAPI housing rate in the U.S. was 61.4%, an increase of 2 percentage points from the previous year.
Texas REALTORS® Diversity Committee
The Texas REALTORS® Diversity Committee supports activities that encourage diversity, equity, and inclusion in member involvement and leadership opportunities. The committee works with local associations through education, sponsorship, and communication endeavors. Visit texasrealestate.com/inclusion.
“I am so thrilled to see the improvement of AAPI homeownership rates in recent reports. Homeownership is an important part of the American Dream,” Lin says.
AREAA communicates with professional organizations abroad; in 2018, AREAA hosted a delegation of Chinese real estate professionals when they visited Houston. AREAA also has a charity that responds to natural disasters, such as Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
Lin says the most valuable service AREAA provides is its extensive network of contacts. Personal connections built today can lead to new business or a louder voice in government tomorrow.
“You never know who you are going to meet. Networking is never wasted time. When you build a relationship, it opens up opportunities. If a networker needs something in the future, they’re going to think of you,” she says.