Hispanics make gains in access to housing

But discrimination lingers, study finds

Hispanics have made strides in their access to housing, but Asian and African-American homebuyers looking to purchase a home still are told about or shown far fewer homes than equally qualified white consumers, a new national study has determined.

But Hispanic renters face the same challenges as other minority groups in finding apartments, 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 but the forms of discrimination that are prevalent in the housing market today are harder to detect.

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.

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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