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It’ll Be Hard To Get Approved For A Mortgage If You’re Black

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"It’ll Be Hard To Get Approved For A Mortgage If You’re Black"

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Minority borrowers are far less likely than their white counterparts to get approved for a mortgage, according to a new Urban Institute study.

The study, which examined the over 1.5 million people who applied for mortgage loans in 2012, found that of the over 250,000 people who had their mortgage application denied, 40 percent were African American while just 14 percent were white.

Part of that story is that white applicants have better credit, on average, than black applicants. But even among applicants with low credit scores who should be equally unlikely to have their loans approved, three-quarters of African American applicants had their applications denied compared to just half of white applicants. These statistics suggest that, despite what should be similar odds, simply being black will decrease your chances of getting a loan approved by 25 percent.

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This trend, unfortunately, is not new or limited to just approved loans. In 2001, before the crash of the housing market, there was still a 14-point gap between the denial of African American applicants with low credit profiles and similar white applicants, according to the Urban Institute. A Woodstock Institute study from last year revealed a similar story, finding banks guilty of discriminating on both race and gender when considering applicants for mortgage applicants and refinancing loans.

A previous Urban Institute study found that realtors tend to show white people more houses in predominately white neighborhoods than black or Asian buyers with similar credit histories and backgrounds. And the National Fair Housing Alliance found that foreclosed properties in African American and Latino neighborhoods are significantly less likely to be managed properly than those foreclosed in white neighborhoods.

Shannon Greenwood is an intern with ThinkProgress.

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