The Housing Bubble May Have Burst, But Discrimination Hasn't

| Thu Oct. 12, 2006 6:10 PM EDT

Not only have foreclosure rates been on the rise but just this week, the National Fair Housing Alliance released a scathing report documenting racially discriminatory practices among real estate agents in New York, Georgia, and Illinois.

Some details:

-In Atlanta Coldwell Banker agents required African American applicants to provide bank pre-approval letters before being allowed to view homes while no such documentation was required by whites.

-In Chicago, Coldwell Banker agents practiced "blatant" discrimination towards African American buyers looking to purchase homes on the north side, showing them an average of 7 units versus 36 units shown to white buyers.

The reports harshest words, however, were saved for the Corcoran Group in Brooklyn. African American home buyers were routinely given limited information and, in a move reminiscent of red-lining commonly practiced by real estate agents until the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, one agent drew red lines on a map around predominantly white neighborhoods, steering white clients to white neighborhoods.

As the report said of this practice, "During our 16 years of existence, the National Fair Housing Alliance has never seen such a literal and blatant example of sales steering."

Doesn't say much for progress.

--Amaya Rivera