LI agents routinely discriminate against minority buyers, probe finds

3-year study found black buyers experienced disadvantages about half the time that they enlisted agent help

TRD TRI-STATE /
Nov.November 18, 2019 09:30 AM
The bombshell probe also found that minorities had to meet more stringent financial qualifications than white buyers. (Credit: iStock)

The bombshell probe also found that minorities had to meet more stringent financial qualifications than white buyers. (Credit: iStock)

A three-year undercover investigation by Newsday found 40 percent of Long Island brokers routinely discriminate against minority buyers.

Black testers experienced unfair treatment 49 percent of the time, Latinos 39 percent and Asians 19 percent. Black buyers were on average shown the fewest of an agent’s listings in majority-white neighborhoods, Newsday found.

The bombshell probe also found that minorities had to meet more stringent financial qualifications than white buyers. In seven cases, minority buyers without a pre-approved mortgage were blocked from home tours, but whites were not.

A quarter of the brokers directed white buyers to listings in majority-white communities, while black and Latino buyers were steered toward more integrated communities. Brokers spoke with white buyers about the racial or ethnic makeup of certain communities, which is illegal according to fair housing laws.

Newsday used paired-testing, a federally approved method for finding violations of fair housing laws. One white and one black, Asian or Latino tester would approach the same agent for help, providing similar financial details and identical preferences in home location and features.

Testers approached some of the island’s biggest brokerages: Douglas Elliman, Century 21 Real Estate LLC, Charles Rutenberg Realty, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage on Long Island, Coach Realtors, Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, Laffey Fine Homes, Keller Williams Realty, the Corcoran Group, Signature Premier Properties, Realty Connect USA and RE/MAX LLC.

No unfair treatment was exhibited by agents from the Corcoran Group or Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, according to the study. [Newsday— TRD Staff


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