1968–Present: Housing Discrimination

Through testing, the FHCGB has found that: African Americans and Latinos experience discrimination in half of their attempts to rent, purchase, or finance homes in greater Boston.

Families with children and people with Section 8 vouchers are discriminated against two-thirds of the time when seeking rental housing.

What Form Does Discrimination Take?

African Americans and Latinos were:
  • Shown fewer homes and told about fewer listings
  • Asked more questions about their qualifications
  • Steered to other communities, to lower priced homes or to open houses
  • Required to provide 24 to 48 hours notice before viewing houses
  • Quoted higher loan rates and offered fewer discounts on closing costs

Advantages of Whiteness:

  • White testers presumed more qualified
  • White testers given greater access to properties
  • White testers given more information
  • White testers given lower loan rates, better discounts
  • White testers more likely to succeed in home buying

Evidence of Discrimination in Newton (audit completed in 2005)

  • Overall, testing showed evidence of discrimination in 11 of the 24 paired tests, or 45.8%.
  • Discrimination based on National Origin was the most common: 66%.
  • Discrimination based on Race happened in 50% of the tests.
  • Families with children and discrimination based on Source of Income both happened 33% of the time.

Evidence of Discrimination in Lowell (Audit completed in 2004)

  • Overall, testing showed evidence of discrimination 31 of the 66 paired tests conducted, or 47%.
  • Latino testers experienced the highest incidence of discrimination: 63%.
  • African Americans experienced discrimination in 52% of the tests
  • Asians experienced discrimination in 38% of the tests
  • Families with children faced discrimination in 33% of the tests

Mortgage Lending Discrimination Today:

  • Mortgage discrimination testing revealed differences in treatment that disadvantaged homebuyers of color 45% of the time. (FHCGB Audit 2005-2006)
  • Upper income African Americans are 8 times more likely to have high cost loans than their white counterparts. (MA Community Banking Council)
  • The presence of high-risk lenders is 3.7 greater in minority neighborhoods than in white neighborhoods (Paying More for the American Dream, 2008)
  • Upper and middle income African Americans and Latinos are 10 times more likely to have high cost loans that low income whites. (MA Community Banking Council)