The Asian Real Estate Association of America Greater Philadelphia chapter held its installation of officers on Saturday, March 11 in Philadelphia.
AREAA national President Kurt Nishimura installed the officers and board of directors. Rose Hanh Yuan, a Realtor® with the Bucks County Association of Realtors®, will serve as the president of the chapter. Emily Qing Hui Wang, a Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors® member, was installed as the vice president. Robert Kuoch, also a Greater Philadelphia Realtor®, is the chapter’s second vice president/secretary and Benjamin Wong, a member of Tri-County Suburban Realtors®, is the chapter’s treasurer.
Founded in 2003, AREAA is dedicated to improving the lives of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community through homeownership. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, AREAA promotes sustainable homeownership opportunities in the Asian American communities by creating a national voice for housing and real estate professionals that serve this market.
Yuan said after becoming involved in the Bucks County Association of Realtors® Diversity Committee, she learned about several other multicultural real estate organizations. She joined AREAA at the national level and began attending AREAA chapter meetings in New Jersey. After attending AREAA’s national convention, she was encouraged to start a chapter in Pennsylvania. Starting the Greater Philadelphia chapter has been a two-year process and they currently have 65 members.
“What’s interesting about our chapter is our membership is very diverse,” she said. “The AAPI community isn’t monolithic. Our members represent and reach out to our communities because our cultures can be very different and there can be language barriers.”
Wang has several motivations for helping to start the local AREAA chapter. “I was a member of AREAA Greater Philadelphia when I first started my career in the late 2000s before the previous local chapter was terminated. I was already heavily involved with the AAPI community from my previous jobs as family law, immigration law paralegal, Chinese interpreter and Asian outreach. After I attended local, national and global real estate events and was a DEI committee member for Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors®, and talked with AREAA national, other AREAA chapter leaders and diversity leaders, I felt the strong need to start our local chapter. Philadelphia is among the top 10 international cities in the U.S. with a larger, diverse Asian population around Philadelphia Chinatown, South Philly and Northeast Philadelphia. I serve a lot of Asian clients and it’s important to educate other real estate professionals to understand their cultures and what they want to better help the community we’re serving,” she said. “AREAA helps us understand and build trust and build relationships within the community through advocacy and education with real estate professionals and the community residents.”
Oftentimes, English isn’t their clients’ first language and it can be a barrier to homeownership. “AREAA helps provide a strong voice for the AAPI community, and is dedicated to improving the lives of the AAPI community through homeownership.” she added.
PAR President Al Perry was a guest speaker at the event. “In Philadelphia, nearly 8% of the 1.6 million people in the city are Asian and 11% of Philadelphia’s small businesses are Asian-owned,” he said. “Homeownership rates within the AAPI community are about 10% lower than the overall national average, but with organizations like AREAA, as well as NAR and PAR, working together to provide more opportunities for the Asian Americans, I think this gap will be narrowed in the coming years.”
In addition, Mayor Jim Kenney sent video remarks and other speakers included President and CEO of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce Greater Philadelphia Dr. Khine Arthur and National Association of Real Estate Brokers Regional Vice President Darlene Meekins. Pat Rocchi was the emcee for the event.
Anyone who has an interest in providing service and promoting AAPI homeownership is welcome to join AREAA. Pennsylvania real estate professionals interested in joining AREAA can go to the Greater Philadelphia chapter’s webpage.