‘Another form of redlining’: Milwaukee among cities named in lawsuit against Redfin, real estate firm


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By Ashley Luthern, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A popular online real estate brokerage service has engaged in racially discriminatory practices akin to modern-day redlining in Milwaukee and other cities across the country, according to a new federal lawsuit.

The Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council and other housing nonprofits have joined the National Fair Housing Alliance in suing Seattle-based Redfin and accusing the company of violating the National Fair Housing Act.

Specifically, the lawsuit targets Redfin’s policy of setting minimum home listing prices in each market for which it will offer services to buyers or sellers, arguing it serves “no legitimate purpose.” …

“This is a practice of racial segregation which diminishes access to wealth, access to quality of life opportunities for African Americans,” said William Tisdale, president and chief executive of the Milwaukee Fair Housing Council.

Home listings in Milwaukee County by Redfin service type, June 2020.

In Milwaukee, Redfin was about eight times more likely to offer no service at all in extremely non-white ZIP codes and did not offer its “best available service” for homes in extremely non-white ZIP codes, an investigation by the local fair housing council found.

The “best available service” means buyers and sellers are connected to Redfin agents and offered perks. “No service” means just that: Redfin does not offer any services for the property.

“Extremely non-white zip codes” were those in which 70% or more of residents did not identify as white, according to census data.

“This company is deciding which units or homes they will show,” Tisdale said. “The homes they don’t show, that sends a message to the public: What’s wrong with this house?”

Read the full article here.

Learn more about how redlining works and some of the many ways it impacts the Black community here, here and here.

More Breaking News here

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