Racial discrimination alive in housing market

by Kelli Rogers12 Jun 2013

Black homebuyers who contact agents about recently advertised homes for sale learn of about 17% fewer available homes than equally qualified whites and are shown 17.7% fewer homes, according to an industry study.

HUD’s Housing Discrimination against Racial and Ethnic Minorities study released yesterday also showed Asian homebuyers learn of about 15.5% fewer available homes than equally qualified whites and are shown 18.8% fewer homes. Though not the case for rentals, overall differences in treatment for Hispanic homebuyers are not statistically significant where home buying is concerned.

When homebuyers meet in person with housing providers, they are usually told about at least one available unit. However, agents frequently tell one tester about more available homes than the other, with whites significantly more likely to be favored than blacks and Asians, the study said.
Consequently, for every two visits, black and Asian homebuyers learn about one fewer home than equally qualified whites.

In one sales test, the black tester called and spoke with an agent who insisted that she must be prequalified in order to see homes. The agent refused to meet with the tester until she had talked to a lender. The white tester was not asked about prequalification over the phone and was able to make an appointment to meet with the agent.

More than 8,000 tests were conducted in a nationally representative sample of 28 metropolitan areas. In each test, two trained individuals—one white and the other black, Hispanic, or Asian—contacted a housing provider to inquire about a housing unit randomly selected from recently advertised homes and apartments. The two testers in each pair were matched on gender and age, and both presented themselves as equally and unambiguously well-qualified to rent or buy the advertised unit. Each tester independently recorded the treatment he or she experienced, including information about all the homes or apartments recommended and shown.


  • by Bob Crider | 6/12/2013 7:59:05 PM

    I'm curious about the race of the real estate agents contacted. In other words, were the prospects sent equally to white, black and asian real estate agents or were all of the agents white or black or asian?

  • by Dave Thomas | 6/14/2013 11:43:08 AM

    A strange situation.
    A slow real estate market. Agents starving. Agent decides to reduce their ability to earn commissions because of race.
    A slow real estate market. Seller wants to sell. No buyers. A minority wants to buy. Seller does not want to sell.
    Articles like this which have no data related to the methodology to arrive at a conclusion are like statistics.
    I strongly suggest that "discrimination" does exist when the discrimination benefits the discriminator.
    There is no benefit to a realtor or a seller in this market. Most would be happy to have ANY buyer.


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