HUD commissions study on housing discrimination

HUD commissions study on housing discrimination

Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced Monday a yearlong, $7.5 million audit to test for and evaluate housing discrimination in communities around the nation.

"This historic audit will help us fight housing discrimination more effectively," Cuomo said. "By determining the extent and scope of housing discrimination in greater detail than ever before, the audit will help us give all American families the opportunity to exercise their legal right to move into any neighborhood and any home they can afford."

The study will involve African Americans, Hispanics, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans posing as would-be buyers or renters, who will then report on the reception they receive from real estate brokers, landlords and mortgage lenders.

"The disparity in homeownership is still very great," Cuomo said. He cited homeownership rates of 72.5 percent for whites compared with 45 percent for blacks and 44 percent for Hispanics. Home mortgage denial rates stand at 26 percent for whites and 53 percent for black applicants.

HUD will select one or more non-partisan, non-affiliated organizations, experienced in scientific sampling and surveying to conduct the audit. HUD will also recruit a panel of experts-including builders, lenders, real estate agents and other leaders in the public, private and nonprofit sectors involved in the housing market nationwide-to work with HUD on the audit.

Mortgage Bankers Association Executive Vice President Paul Reed endorsed the audit."The Mortgage Bankers Association of America welcomes this initiative by Secretary Cuomo to conduct this comprehensive audit. As the leading source of mortgage loans for homeowners in America, MBA supports all efforts to open the doors of homeownership," he said.