Study: Minorities told about, shown fewer homes and apartments

Subtle discrimination raises the cost of housing search, restricts housing options

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Minorities are less likely to encounter blatant discrimination when house or apartment hunting than they once were, but are still told about and shown fewer housing units than whites, according to the latest results of an ongoing study with data going back to 1977. While discrimination may be more subtle than it once was, the study concluded that the forms of discrimination that persist raise the costs of housing search for minorities, and restrict their housing options. The study, conducted by the Urban Institute for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, relied on more than 8,000 "paired tests" in 28 markets. For each test, two trained individuals contacted the same housing provider to inquire about a randomly selected home or apartment. The two testers in each pair were matched on gender, age and family composition and assigned the same financial characteristics. The study found that black homebuyers who inquire about advertised listings learn about 17 percent ...