Overt racial discrimination against minority renters and homebuyers persists. It is down considerably compared to 40 years ago, according to the latest study from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Urban Institute, but minorities still face “more subtle” obstacles in finding homes to rent or buy.
The study was conducted using the “pair-testing” method: sending out two “similarly situated” prospective homeowners or renters, one white and one minority. The study found that whites were more likely to be shown more housing units for rental or purchase than people of color.
Here’s a chart from the study:
The study is by its own admission somewhat limited. “Evidence from other research suggests that when testers pose as more marginally qualified homes-seekers, more discrimination occurs.” And the study did not measure disparate treatment that may occur after the individual seeking the home actually tries to rent or buy it. During the housing crisis, for example, banks offered better home loans to white borrowers than to blacks or Latinos with similar credit ratings.
“For all these reasons,” the study states, “results reported here probably understate the total level of discrimination that occurs in the marketplace.”