Feds: Minorities still face housing discrimation

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WASHINGTON When it comes to finding a place to live, minorities still face discrimination, according to a comprehensive new federal study.

Homebuyers and renters in the market for a home were told about and shown fewer homes and apartments than their equally qualified white counterparts, The Department of Housing and Urban Development concludes.

A new federal study finds that minority renters and homebuyers still face discrimination.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

"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," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan in a statement. "It's clear we still have work to do to end housing discrimination once and for all."

The agency has released results of the study in which pairs of testers one white, one minority were deployed last year to do more than 8,000 tests separately across 28 metropolitan areas. Testers' were the same gender and age and presented themselves as qualified to rent or buy a unit.

But study authors say the more subtle discrimination of telling them about and showing fewer units makes housing searches more costly and limits their options.

When renters meet in person with housing providers, for instance, they are almost always told about at least one available unit, HUD concluded. "However, Hispanic renters are slightly more likely than equally qualified whites to be told that no homes or apartments are available (1.8 percentage points). Moreover, in about half of all in-person visits, one tester is told about more available units than the other, with whites significantly more likely to be favored than minorities. Black, Hispanic, and Asian renters are all told about fewer housing units than equally qualified white renters."

Some minority house-hunters face a similar pattern of discrimination, with African-Americans 2.4 percent more likely than whites to be denied an appointment with a real estate agent. Black and Asian homebuyers are also significantly less likely than equally qualified whites to learn about all the available homes in an area, HUD said.

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