Fair Housing Solutions: Overcoming Real Estate Sales Discrimination

Following a Newsday investigation revealing widescale discrimination in the Long Island real estate market, the National Fair Housing Alliance developed this report to focus on solutions for advancing fair housing in the real estate industry.  Sales discrimination promotes residential segregation, lowers housing values in communities of color, diminishes homeownership opportunities for people of color, and harms people and neighborhoods in myriad ways.

The findings in the Newsday investigation mirror results of a multi-year, multi-city investigation NFHA conducted in the mid-to-late 2000s which also found rampant discrimination.  Both investigations found extensive racial steering and that real estate agents used schools as a proxy for race and a mechanism for steering.  Both investigations also found that agents made derogatory statements about communities of color, showed potential people of color far fewer housing options and placed higher requirements and restrictions on people of color.

The actionable recommendations in this report are necessary if the country is going to effectively tackle residential segregation and eliminate discrimination. Walter Mondale, co-author of the Fair Housing Act stated, “When Senator Ed Brooke and I wrote the Fair Housing Act over 50 years ago, we had high hopes and expectations both for our government to fully enforce the law and for the housing industry to make necessary changes to comply with the Act.  I don’t think it comes as any surprise that I am thoroughly frustrated and disappointed with the lack of progress we have made.  We are more segregated today than we were 100 years ago… We have a renewed opportunity to realize fair housing in this nation by instituting every single one of the recommendations NFHA has generated in this compelling report.”

Among others, recommendations include:

  • Instituting greater transparency around pocket listings — a listing that an agent keeps in their “pocket” to share with select clients;
  • Reinstating the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule which gave communities a framework for analyzing fair housing issues, developing remedies to overcome them, and a robust data and mapping tool with which to inform that analysis;
  • Increasing funding for fair housing testing to ferret out discrimination;
  • Enforcing serious consequences for violations of fair housing laws;
  • Strengthening fair housing oversight and compliance among state real estate commissions;
  • Providing better training for real estate professionals; and
  • Preserving HUD’s 2013 Disparate Impact Rule.

View the Press Release with Statements by Civil Rights and Industry Leaders

To download a PDF Copy of the report. Please select Download

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