The Real Deal New York

Real estate apps may lead to segregation: opinion

Increased access to demographic data could lead to self-sorting
May 04, 2014 05:00PM

 Recently new high-tech resources, such as apps and listing websites, have changed the way Americans shop for real estate. But could increased access to information lead to segregation? Reporter Teke Wiggin thinks so.

For decades, fair housing laws have limited the demographic information a real estate agent can share with buyers. But real estate listing sites and apps often provide localized data on sex offenders, school ratings, crime stats and neighborhood demographics, which can include everything from political leaning and educational attainment to age and race, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

Wiggin argues that this level of access to sophisticated data will allow buyers to self-sort. And as the New York Times’ A.O. Scott has pointed out, even seemingly useful information, such as school rankings, can allow for segregation.

“New Yorkers, like most Americans—white, upper-middle-class Americans in particular—prefer to address such matters through an elaborate lexicon of euphemism and code, speaking of ‘good schools,’ ‘sketchy’ blocks and ‘improvements’ in the retail and culinary amenities,” Scott wrote. [Businessweek] Christopher Cameron 


    True…the apps will make it easier to segregate if you wish.But then…it’s not as if we live in some integrated utopia now. Whites still have the all the money and an affirmative action system that guarantees access to capital to live pretty much anywhere they wish within their socio-economic caste. I don’t foresee things becoming that much more segregated than they already are.

  • TefExpat

    “the goal of creating integrated neighborhoods.”

    Apparently, that is not the goal of a prospective renter or buyer.

  • Snowy

    Nice thoughts! The piece of article is very much informative. I like to know more.

  • ColonelDrapes

    It reminds me of the old adage, “Birds of a feather…”