Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Real Estate Agents Continue to Discriminate

A New York Times editorial summarizes a recent lawsuit by the National Fair Housing Alliance:

Americans commonly — and mistakenly — believe that well-to-do black people no longer face the kind of discrimination that prevents them from living anywhere they can afford. But a federal housing discrimination complaint filed last week by the National Fair Housing Alliance shows that this toxic problem is very much with us, nearly 50 years after Congress outlawed housing discrimination in the Fair Housing Act.

The complaint, and the investigations that led to it, shows how real estate agents promote segregation — and deny African-Americans the opportunity to buy into high-value areas that would provide better educations for children and a greater return on their investments.

Over the course of nearly a year, the alliance reports, black and white testers posing as home buyers had drastically different experiences when they contacted a real estate company near Jackson, Miss. Agents often declined to show properties to black customers who were better qualified than whites, with higher incomes, better credit scores and more savings for down payments. Meanwhile, white testers who had expressed interest in properties in the majority-black city of Jackson were steered into majority-white communities elsewhere.

[...] Despite being better qualified financially, black and Latino testers were shown fewer homes than their white peers, were often denied information about special incentives that would have made the purchase easier, and were required to produce loan pre-approval letters and other documents when whites were not.

Moreover, real estate agents enforced residential and school segregation by steering home buyers into neighborhoods based on race. Whites were encouraged to live where the schools were mainly white; African-Americans where schools were disproportionately black; and Latinos where schools were disproportionately Latino.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/property/2015/09/real-estate-agents-continue-to-discriminate.html

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