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A Neighborhood’s Race Affects Home Values More Now Than in 1980

Decades after housing reform, race has become an even greater determinant of home appraisals in Black and Latina neighborhoods, new research finds.

Home appraisals in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods are veering even farther from those in majority-white neighborhoods. 

Home appraisals in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods are veering even farther from those in majority-white neighborhoods. 

Photographer: Robert Knopes/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

U.S. fair housing laws passed in the 1960s and ‘70s were supposed to help bring racial parity to a housing market that since its beginning confined Black homebuyers to the cheapest forms of housing in the most undesirable neighborhoods. But since those laws were passed, the disparity in the appraised values between homes in majority-white and predominantly non-white neighborhoods has widened dramatically, according to a new study.

This disparity can’t be fully explained by past racially discriminatory practices in the real estate industry, such as redlining, conclude University of Pittsburgh sociologist Junia Howell and University of New Mexico sociologist Elizabeth Korver-Glenn. Instead, standard modern appraisal practices used since the passage of the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 continue to perpetuate and exacerbate differences in how homes are valued in neighborhoods of color compared to white neighborhoods.