The National Fair Housing Alliance says that real estate brokerage Corcoran discriminates against black people and also tries to steer white people from black neighborhoods. The NFHA, which was following up discrimination claims in a 2000 Department of Housing and Urban Development report, put both black and white people, posing as potential buyers, in a Brooklyn Corcoran office. Though the black "buyers" were more qualified, the whites received extra information about financial incentives. Further, the white "buyers" were urged to look in certain neighborhoods. From the National Fair Housing Alliance's report:
Agents at the Corcoran Group Real Estate were also found to have engaged in racial steering. In this investigation’s most egregious incident of racial steering, one agent produced a map of Brooklyn and drew a red outline of the areas in which the White homeseeker should consider living. He pointed to the neighborhoods of Prospect Heights, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights and parts of Carroll Gardens as attractive neighborhoods for the White homeseeker, and indicated with arrows the neighborhoods that were “changing.” The agent also noted the high quality of schools in these neighborhoods as further indication of their desirability to the White homeseeker.
This tactic harkens back to the days of redlining before the Fair Housing Act of 1968, the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, and the numerous examples of litigation against insurance companies brought over the years, some by NFHA. During our 16 years of existence, the National Fair Housing Alliance has never seen such a literal and blatant example of sales steering. This racial steering tactic is reminiscent of discriminatory conduct from the 1970’s when real agents would go into White neighborhoods with the specific intention of triggering White flight by showing on a map where an African‐American family had bought a house. This Corcoran Group agent applied a new trick – he used a map to tell whites instead where they should ‘flee to.’
The map at top is the one the Corcoran agent drew on; the map at below is from the NFHA that shows Corcoran offices (the stars) and the distribution of blacks (black dots) and whites (white dots) in the city.
Corcoran's president and CEO Pamela Liebman told the NY Times that the company was "devoted to fair housing" and had trained employees in fair housing law and practices recently, but added that she hadn't seen the charged and "anxiously await[s] them as we intend to defend ourselves vigorously.”
The NHFA's big point is that NRT Inc., Corcoran's owner, has a "pattern of discrimination," noting incidents at NRT's Coldwell Banker offices in Georgia and Chicago where brokers would overwhelmingly show homes to white buyers, while showing black buyers few homes - if any at all. You can read the NHFA's report here (PDF).