The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Housing, Lending Discrimination Continues in U.S.

Feature Story by civilrights.org staff - 3/3/2003

America's battle with housing discrimination continues, according to a new housing study conducted by the Urban Institute and funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The findings of these studies were presented as part of a panel at the Urban Institute in Washington DC.

"Discrimination in Metropolitan Housing Markets: National Results from Phase I", is a follow up to a similar analysis carried out in 1989. The new report draws on data that was gathered in 2000 and makes the following findings:

  • About 21.6% African-Americans were discriminated against in searches for rental housing in metropolitan areas. For Hispanics the percent was a staggering 25.7%.
  • These rates of discrimination seem detached from any class patterns.
  • When it comes to buying homes, individuals of both groups were discriminated against in about 1 in 5 inquiries.
  • Discrimination rates have declined in the last decade, except in the case of Hispanic renters.

The housing testing study was discussed in conjunction with an April 2002 lending testing study that was also conducted by the Urban Institute. "All Other Things Being Equal; A Paired Testing Study of Mortgage Lending Institutions" documents how African American and Hispanic homebuyers in Los Angeles and Chicago are frequently victims of lending discrimination. This mistreatment often comes at the hands of mainstream mortgage lending institutions during pre-application inquiries. The study used 75 tests that were completed in California and Louisiana. Mel Martinez, Secretary of HUD, says this kind of unfavorable conduct related to financial options makes the whole home buying process "fatally compromised" for two primary reasons:

  • People then limit their inquiries to homes that cost less than what they are really able to afford
  • They end up without the most desirable loan products.