Study Finds Decline in Blatant Discrimination While Unequal Treatment Persists
Blatant acts of housing discrimination faced by minority home seekers continue to decline in the United States, yet more subtle forms of housing denial stubbornly persist, according to a new study just released by HUD and the Urban Institute.
Though few were denied an appointment to see an advertised unit, the study found that real estate agents and rental housing providers recommended and showed fewer available homes and apartments to African-American, Asian, and Hispanic families. The study, which involved 8,000 paired tests in 28 metropolitan areas across the country, concludes that this is a national, not a regional, phenomenon.
“Fewer minorities today may be getting the door slammed in their faces, but we continue to see evidence of housing discrimination that can limit a family’s housing, economic, and educational opportunities,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said in a statement. “It’s clear we still have work to do to end housing discrimination once and for all.”
Researchers reported higher levels of discrimination in the sales market than in the rental market. In tests, black renters who contacted agents about recently advertised housing units learned about 11 percent fewer available units and were shown roughly 4 percent fewer units than white testers. But black homebuyers who contacted agents about recently advertised homes for sale learned about 17 percent fewer available homes and were shown about 18 percent fewer units.
The same was true in tests involving Asian home seekers. Asian renters who contacted agents about recently advertised housing units learned about 10 percent fewer available units and were shown nearly 7 percent fewer units. Asian homebuyers who contacted agents about recently advertised homes for sale learned about 15 percent fewer available homes and were shown nearly 19 percent fewer units.
Nevertheless, the study found the opposite in tests involving Hispanic home seekers. Hispanic renters who contacted agents about recently advertised housing units learned about 12 percent fewer available units and were shown roughly 7 percent fewer units; however, the difference in treatment for Hispanic homebuyers was not statistically significant.
The report, “Housing Discrimination Against Racial and Ethnic Minorities 2012,” is here.
Not a subscriber? Click here for a free trial issue!