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Minorities Experience Racial Bias in Housing Market, HUD Finds

Minorities seeking to rent or buy homes are shown fewer available units than whites, according to a study released today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The study, the fourth of its kind since 1977, found that blatant acts of housing discrimination such as refusing to provide information to minority home-seekers have steadily declined over the past three decades.

“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,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said in a statement today.

In the study, conducted by the Urban Institute, white testers were paired with black, Hispanic or Asian testers in 28 cities to inquire about available units more than 8,000 times. White testers were told about and shown more units in housing markets throughout the country.

Black testers were told about 11 percent fewer rental units than white testers and were told about 17 percent fewer available homes for sale. They were shown 4 percent fewer rental units and 18 percent fewer homes for sale.

The study found similar discrepancies for Asians and Hispanics, with the exception that Hispanic testers were treated similarly to white testers when inquiring about homes for sale.

Enforcement of the Fair Housing Act, which bans housing discrimination, has been a priority of the administration of President Barack H. Obama.

“It’s clear we still have work to do,” Donovan said.

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