It’s been more than 50 years since the Fair Housing Act was signed into law. What do Americans think housing discrimination looks like in the modern era? How do buyers and renters feel about the role of housing programs in building diverse communities? A recent Homes.com survey uncovers those very insights.
Racial Bias in Renting and Buying: A Snapshot
According to the survey, more than 15% of U.S. consumers have personally experienced housing discrimination when attempting to rent or purchase a property. Respondents reported encountering bias in scenarios including rental applications (7%), home financing (4%), home searching with an agent (3%), home appraisals (3%) and other residential purchase services (3%). It’s worth noting that all the races, ethnicities and income levels we surveyed were represented in these findings of personal bias experience.
Of those who disclosed their racial identities, 56% of Black or African American respondents expressed that they have faced housing bias, followed by biracial or multiracial respondents (45%), those of Latino or Hispanic heritage (45%), American Indians or Alaskan Natives (31%) and non-Hispanic whites (12%).
What Consumers Believe About Discrimination and Diversity
Two-thirds of respondents said they believe housing discrimination exists in their community in varying degrees, while an almost-equal 62% believe that federal housing policies should actively encourage diverse communities. The contrast between these two findings highlight the nation’s growing social desire to challenge existing remnants of community segregation in favor of inclusivity and equality.
Knowledge Gaps are Prevalent Surrounding Federal Housing Programs
The majority of respondents (60%) indicated that they don’t know how to report Fair Housing law violations or concerns; one-fifth of this group also indicated they have experienced housing discrimination. Many (30%) stated they are unfamiliar with many of the federal housing programs we asked about, including Federal Housing Administration loans and Section 8 housing vouchers. A concerning number considering over half of those respondents reported having annual household incomes of less than $100,000 a year, suggesting a lack of information — or access to that information — for those who need it most.
As a federal rule establishing stricter requirements to prove housing discrimination claims is being challenged, these findings highlight the need for readily accessible resources to help consumers understand their options – this is where Homes.com steps in.
Homes.com is Committed to Fair Housing for All
Earlier this year, Homes.com formed a Fair Housing work group, dedicated to understanding the history of fair housing, the current status of fair housing progress, and providing those educational resources to consumers.
In the coming weeks, Homes.com will launch a dedicated resource page to provide consumers with the latest news in Fair Housing, guidance on how to submit Fair Housing concerns, information on existing programs to assist renters and buyers, and more. This is one of the first projects to reinforce Homes.com’s commitment to equipping consumers in a readily accessed way.