An aerial view of homes in Nassau County.  

An aerial view of homes in Nassau County.   Credit: All Island Aerial/Kevin Coughlin

The head of the National Association of Realtors said Monday that the trade group was “deeply troubled” by the results of Newsday’s three-year investigation published Sunday into real estate practices on Long Island that found evidence of widespread unequal treatment of potential minority home buyers and minority communities.

The association also endorsed the use of fair housing paired testing, which Newsday utilized in its investigation, to “unmask” housing discrimination.

“The National Association of Realtors was deeply troubled to review the results of the local New York Newsday’s three-year investigation into how real estate agents on Long Island treat buyers of different backgrounds, which do not reflect the ethical commitment made by 1.4 million Realtors nationwide,” president Vince Malta said.

The National Association of Realtors represents residential and commercial brokers, salespeople, property managers, appraisers, counselors and others in the real estate industry. Not all real estate agents are Realtors.

Malta added that the association, based in Washington, D.C., “has spent decades defending the Fair Housing Act and the critical role it plays in protecting this fundamental human right.”

“Housing discrimination violates NAR’s Code of Ethics along with federal, state and local laws, and NAR maintains its strong support of fair housing testing to unmask housing discrimination and hold our industry to the highest standard.”

Testing is the best way to “shine light” on real estate agent practices, agreed Antoine Thompson, executive director of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, a group of African American real estate agents that advocates for fair housing.

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“Some people think this is a relic from the past,” Thompson said of the evidence of housing discrimination revealed by Newsday’s series. “We’ve had an uptick in outright racism. Those are in your face. But the other forms of racism are just as destructive.” 

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