Racial Injustice and the Housing Market
NEW YORK, February 26, 2021 (Newswire.com) - It's no secret that Black homebuyers and homeowners have faced racial injustice in the housing market for centuries.
The Fair Housing Act (FHA) of 1968 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability, but the problem still persists. America, right?
There have been several recent stories of Black homeowners seeing their homes appraised at lower values compared with their white neighbors.
Take the biracial couple in Jacksonville, Florida, who saw a 40% increase in their appraisal value after the wife removed all signs of Blackness — including herself and the couple's 6-year-old son — from the home, leaving her white husband to meet the second appraiser last summer.
Then there's the recent story of a Black family in Austin who put $400,000 into renovating their home only to see the value barely increase, until they had a white woman pose as the homeowner. Then, the value increased by about half a million dollars.
And who could forget the residents of Gordon Plaza, a New Orleans subdivision, continually fighting to be relocated off of the toxic landfill their homes were built on in the 1980s?
These anecdotes are just a glimpse of the larger systemic issues that connect back to unjust policies like the promise of "40 acres and a mule" and redlining.
What is redlining?
Redlining is the systemic discriminatory practice of denying marginalized populations certain goods and services, either directly or by selectively raising prices, by federal government agencies, local authorities, and the private sector. The practice of redlining is illegal based on the FHA, but when has that stopped racist people from clinging to the past (see: Confederate flags at the Capitol insurrection)?
Though the FHA technically outlawed redlining, appraisers still can use past sale prices to determine current home values, which allows them to define home values based on the racial makeup of a neighborhood.
The term, coined by John McKnight in the 1960s, comes from the red marks lenders would use on maps to signal a less loan-worthy area, typically mixed-race or Black neighborhoods. Comparatively, more affluent, typically white neighborhoods, were outlined in blue or green.
In housing, an example would be if a mortgage lender denied someone a loan based on living in an area deemed to be financially risky, but the same can be true of personal loans and other forms of credit.
Does race matter now more than ever in home buying?
It sure seems like it, and the data supports the stories.
A study by Junia Howell and Elizabeth Korver-Glenn released last September shows that, according to Census data since 1980, homes in white neighborhoods have appreciated an average of $200,000 more than comparable homes in majority-Black and majority-Hispanic neighborhoods.
Their research shows that between the loopholes that exist around redlining and the tendency for real estate industry brass to designate Black and brown neighborhoods as "undesirable," the problem has compounded in recent history.
So much for post-racial America.
Categories: Real Estate