Survey finds widespread housing discrimination continues

15% of respondents, across all income levels, said they have experienced bias

Home And Family Diversity ConceptOver 15% of U.S. consumers have personally experienced housing discrimination in their attempts to rent or purchase a property, according to a new survey of 2,000 adults.

Survey respondents reported encountering bias in one or more scenarios, including: rental applications (7%); home financing (4%); home searching with an agent (3%); home appraisals (3%); or other residential purchase services (3%).

Black respondents were the most likely to face housing bias (56%), followed by biracial/multiracial (45%), Latinos/ Hispanics (45%), American Indians/Alaskan Natives (31%) and non-Hispanic whites (12%). The bias was encountered by respondents of every income level, from less than $100,000 to more than $500,000.

The poll was conducted as a federal rule establishing stricter requirements to bring discrimination claims under the Fair Housing Act is being challenged by civil rights groups.

The survey also found that:

  • Two-thirds of respondents said they believe housing discrimination exists in their community in varying degrees, with just 33% saying it is “not common at all.” The “not common” response was highest in the Northeast with 40% expressing that opinion.
  • 60% said they didn’t know how to report Fair Housing Act violations or concerns, despite the fact that one-fifth of that group indicated they had experienced housing discrimination.
  • 30% said they are unfamiliar with any of six key federal housing programs including Federal Housing Administration loans, Section 8 housing vouchers, private mortgage insurance, the Truth in Lending Act, the Making Home Affordable program and the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act. More than half of the respondents unfamiliar with any of these programs have annual household incomes of less than $100,000 a year.
  • 37% cited down payment assistance programs as the most useful strategy to help low-income families buy homes, followed by mortgage assistance programs (34%), home repair grants (23%), tax credits for buying homes in certain areas (21%) and housing voucher programs (17%).
  • 31% said they believe the No. 1 hurdle to home ownership for low-income families is insufficient affordable housing, with 38% of those respondents residing in the West. Other obstacles cited included down payment costs (30%), lack of access to stable employment (16%), mortgage payment costs (15%) and not enough housing inventory (9%).

• 62% said they believe that federal housing policies should actively encourage diverse communities, highlighting the nation’s growing social desire to challenge existing remnants of community segregation in favor of inclusivity and equality.

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