Friday, April 26, 2013

Racism in Home Buying

A recent study by Duke University found that Latinos and Blacks pay, on average, 3.5 percent more for their homes than White buyers. The study, which tracked over two million housing transactions in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington D.C., controlled for factors of income, wealth, and access to credit, but found that none of these factors could explain the differences in how much more Blacks and Latinos paid.  Could racial prejudice account for these factors?
Senior author of the study Pat Bayer, said no, “we did not detect the pattern of obvious racial prejudice on behalf of the sellers. Black and Hispanic sellers sold at similar premiums to white sellers.” Instead, she attributed the discrepancies to age, saying that because Black and Latino populations “skew younger” they are more likely to be first time home-byers, and therefore less experience in negotiating home prices. She also added that because real estate agents tend to show minorities  “a more limited set of properties,” they may feel the need to pay more for a house that actually “suits their needs and tastes.” 
            This part of the study confused me. As I read Bayer’s statement, I thought to myself, “how is that not racist?” If real estate agents are not showing Blacks and Latinos the same quality houses that they show Whites and that results in the feeling, on the part of Blacks and Latinos, that they have to pay more, why was racial prejudice disregarded? In my opinion, racial prejudice seems to be a definite factor that contributes to the study’s results.
Do you think the factor of racism should be further considered? If so, why do you think the head of the study disregarded it? If not, what do you think accounts for the results of the study? 


  1. I do believe that whenever a particular group of people are targeted, it should definitely be explored. If Blacks and Latinos are paying more on average, it should be explored. Is it racial based? There could be a possibility that it is but I'm not quite sure. More information and studies would need to be conducted to really see what the deal is. But at the moment, when looking back at the history of the US and the race relations of the country and how race reflects so many different factors, you really do not have much of a choice but to look towards race.

  2. I agree that it is difficult to determine what are the exact factors for this. Like you said Darren, because of history, we tend to lean more towards race. Responding to Bayer's statement, it does seem that their are racial prejudices in home buying. Why are minorities shown a different selection of houses than whites? This if anything is racist. Realtors should be "race blind" when selling homes.