Real estate has had an ongoing diversity problem and lack of equality in the industry.
Although not a licensed realtor, Dylan Kyle is working tirelessly to change that unfortunate reality. He recognized these inequalities at a young age and has made huge strides in promoting above-par affordable housing for low-income communities while educating other young African Americans about real estate.
Kyle is a hird-year business administration student at Florida A&M University, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and president of FAMU’s real estate club.
Introduced to the industry at a young age by attending real estate conferences and workshops with his mom, who is also in the industry, Kyle has been able to see the disproportionate numbers when it comes to diversity in the field and the rise of gentrification across a multitude of cities.
He says that being one of a few African Americans — and one of the youngest — in the industry has opened numerous doors for him to make real change.
“I’ve always been the youngest person at these different real estate conferences,” Kyle, 21, said. “Since I was about 10 years old, I’ve attended several different workshops and allowed the opportunity to visit different cities with realtor firms, solely based on the fact that they see a young Black man who wants to make a huge impact for his community, his people, in the affordable housing space.”
According to studies provided by The New York Times, about 6 percent of real estate agents and developers in the United States are Black, while white agents comprise almost three times as much. Gentrification and the increasing number of properties under the control of white agents have contributed to the growing Black-White disparity in property ownership.
Additionally, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that Black Americans still have the lowest rate of homeownership in the country compared to other racial groups.
Although he was fortunate enough to grow up in a comfortable living position on the south side of Atlanta, he was able to see unfortunate living situations firsthand, which motivated him to pursue a career in the industry.
“My aunt, uncle and cousins all lived with me for almost all of middle school, at the time I didn’t know they were homeless, but that was my motivation,” Kyle said.
In recent years, Kyle has put his years of knowledge and experience to use, making impactful changes inside and outside of his community.
“Actually during my first internship, I was in Miami working on a project in Coconut Grove. The thing about Coconut Grove, it has all been gentrified,” he said. “One day while I was working on the project, one of the old heads that have been living in that neighborhood for 50-60 years came up to me and was wondering what we were doing, so I explained our mission.
“He said that we were doing great work for the community, that that is what they need more of, and ever since that day, they would show love. And you can tell he really meant it because Coconut Grove used to be an all-Black neighborhood and he’s seen it change right before his eyes,” he added.
Kyle’s main goal is to see positive change in terms of the infrastructure in Black and low-income communities, without Black families having to leave, although Kyle understands that this goal is much bigger than himself.
Over the past year Kyle has served as president of Club R.E.A.L, FAMU’s real estate club, connecting students with network, internship and scholarship opportunities in the industry.
“I learned in my first internship that you can give back to the community and make a profit, so I took it and ran with it,” he said. “I’ve had several people make a way for me, so I feel like if I can pay it forward, then that’s what I’m supposed to do.”
Under his leadership, Kyle has been able to grow FAMU’s real estate club from 20 to over 150 registered members, welcoming FAMU students, staff and others in the community. He has also been able to secure over $15,000 in scholarships and donations for members of the club and was able to help place eight members with internships this summer.
Abdul-Rafiu Apata, a fourth-year broadcast journalism major, Club R.E.A.L member and lKyle’s brother, believes Kyle is an influential leader and has a bright future ahead of him.
“He’s so young, but he’s giving so many people knowledge, some that are even older than him,” Apapta said. “He has already told me, once he gets to where he wants to be in the field, that he wants to bring people up with him.”
Club R.E.A.L e-board member and recently licensed realtor, Alexia Panier, said that she has learned so much from the club and several doors have been opened for her in the industry.
“He’s really helping our community because these aren’t lessons that are taught in school, or really taught to Black people at all. So for him to be willing to give knowledge that is useful for generational wealth, he really wants to see everyone do great,” Panier said. “Overall I would say it’s a really great club for advancement opportunities,” she added.
Kyle’s efforts have not gone unnoticed in the community. He was recently awarded the Brian Keith Greene Memorial Scholarship Award. The scholarship is awarded to Beta Nu brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity who exemplify high standards, scholarship, and love for all mankind.
Club R.E.A.L opens applications for new members every semester. Keep a lookout on the Club R.E.A.L Instagram page at the beginning of fall semester of 2023 for updates.