Study: Housing discrimination in US endures

Hispanic buyers get fair treatment, but renters do not
2013-06-13T00:00:00Z Study: Housing discrimination in US enduresChicago Tribune Chicago Tribune Arizona Daily Star
June 13, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Hispanic buyers' access to housing has improved, but Asian and black homebuyers still are told about or shown far fewer homes than equally qualified white consumers, a new study has determined.

And Hispanic renters face the same challenges as other minority groups in finding housing, according to the report issued Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Urban Institute.

The study, based on research done in 28 metropolitan areas, concluded that blatant forms of discrimination are on the decline, and that the forms of discrimination that are prevalent in the housing market today are harder to detect and, as a result, harder to correct.

Compared with white homebuyers, black buyers who inquire about homes listed for sale are made aware of about 17 percent fewer homes and are shown 18 percent fewer units. Asians are told about 15 percent fewer units and are shown 19 percent fewer properties.

Among renters, all minority groups find out about fewer choices than white consumers. Hispanic renters who contact agents about advertised rental units learn about 12 percent fewer units that are available and are shown 7 percent fewer units than white renters. Black renters learn about 11 percent fewer units and are shown 4 percent fewer available rentals, while Asians are told about 10 percent fewer available rentals and are shown 7 percent fewer units.

To conduct the study, two people, one white and the other an African-American, Hispanic or Asian person but sharing the same gender, age, family composition and given the same financial background, contacted a housing provider to ask about a randomly selected home available for sale or rent. The testers recorded the treatment they received.

Tuesday's report is the fourth study of housing discrimination using a paired-testing approach.

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