Realtor.com nixes crime map in effort to promote fair housing
The listing site will find other ways to integrate safety data in the upcoming months
Home shoppers viewing listings on Realtor.com might notice something missing: The website has removed the crime map layer from all of its search results.
The move, made early this month, is an effort to avoid penalizing Black and Latino communities, according to the company.
Realtor.com decided to “rethink the safety information” on listings in order to provide fair and accurate neighborhood data for homebuyers, CEO David Doctorow wrote in a post this week.
“Historically, our industry has rated neighborhoods using metrics that unfairly penalize communities of color,” Doctorow said. “We can all do a better job explaining the facts in a way that does not unfairly penalize neighborhoods, towns and cities.”
The site plans to spend the next few months figuring out new ways to integrate safety data on its platform. The company declined to comment beyond the CEO’s posted explanation.
Doctorow said he was struck by stories about the hurdles Black, Hispanic and Asian homebuyers face, whether it be racial steering or discrimination in the appraisal and mortgage processes.
“We know that a person’s home can affect many other things — their education, their health, the opportunities they and their children will have in life,” Doctorow said. Housing segregation is interconnected with other social and racial equity challenges, he added.
Nixing crime maps is one of a handful of steps Doctorow said the industry should take to promote fair housing. Others include incentivizing agents to represent properties valued at $150,000 and lower, and improving transparency and education to remove bias from appraisals and lending.
“We cannot let more years go by and accept the same inequities to persist in our industry,” Doctorow said. “Consider this an open invitation to senior leaders in real estate to come together to agree on meaningful ways to address fair housing in our country.”