Inequity in foreclosed property maintenance

April 05, 2012 01:00PM

Banks have higher maintenance standards for foreclosed properties that they own in upscale white neighborhoods as opposed to low-income communities of color, according to a new study by the National Fair Housing Alliance, which the Wall Street Journal reported.

Foreclosures in minority neighborhoods nationwide were 42 percent more likely to be poorly maintained, the report indicates. This includes broken windows, water damage and overgrown lawns, as opposed to white neighborhoods, where foreclosures featured “for sale” signs, locked doors and neat lawns. In addition, garbage and debris were 34 percent more likely to be found in foreclosed properties in minority neighborhoods as opposed to white-majority ones.

As previously reported, 6.4 percent of mortgages taken out by minority borrowers between 2004 and 2008 fell into foreclosure. An additional 8.3 percent of those mortgages taken out during the same time were on the brink of foreclosure.

The survey examined 1,000 foreclosed properties in Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Dayton, Miami, Oakland, Philadelphia, Phoenix and the nation’s capital.

The study also found that Freddie Mac’s properties looked well maintained and marketed in all neighborhoods. [WSJ]