Zillow’s latest Consumer Housing Trends Report revealed startling pay disparities between renters of color and white applicants.
According to the report, renters of color pay way more in security deposits and application fees than their white counterparts. Zillow’s Group Population Science department conducted a national survey of more than 2,000 renters between March and July 2021. The company found that renters of color paid a higher median application fee than white renters. Black, Asian and Latinx applicants paid $50 on average per application compared to white renters, who reported paying $35 per application.
The renting process can get costly, especially if you have to submit more than one application. Unfortunately, that appeared to be the reality for most renters of color, according to Zillow’s survey. Black and Latinx applicants said they submitted 5 applications or more when apartment hunting compared to white applicants who reported submitting 2 applications on average.
The data reflected a similar trend with security deposits. 92 percent of renters of colors reported paying a security deposit in 2021. Some said they had to dish out fees in the amount of $750– “$150 more than the typical $600 for their white counterparts,” Zillow noted. The median security deposit amount in America has increased since 2019 jumping from $630 to $700 in 2021.
These glaring pay disparities also impacted whether renters felt as though they would qualify during the application process. 34 percent of Black renters said they were sure they would qualify for their desired apartment, while Latinx renters expressed a bit more confidence at 38 percent. 46 percent of white renters reported being at least somewhat certain they would qualify when they applied for a rental.
“Rents grew more last year than any year on record, forcing many renters to look for a more affordable option. About 2 in 5 renters who moved in the past year said a rent hike influenced their decision to move,” Manny Garcia, a population scientist at Zillow, said in a statement.
“Renters typically do not have much of a financial cushion, and the cost of finding a new place to live can be an expensive burden. Regrettably, renters of color are especially likely to experience rising rents, and when they shop for a new rental, generally report higher upfront costs, restricting the mobility that is often held up as a benefit of renting.”