As more online real estate sites like Zillow (Z) and Trulia (TRLA) hit record-breaking numbers in traffic, a new debate is being sparked: should people be able to search for a home based on the racial or ethnic composition of the neighborhood? Per the LA Times:
Currently, some websites offer neighborhood-level racial, ethnic, linguistic and similar demographic details. The data comes from government sources such as the Census Bureau, making it all public knowledge.
Controversy over all this bubbled up recently when the head of the National Fair Housing Alliance — an umbrella group that represents more than 200 state and local civil rights organizations — said the alliance is investigating the practices of online search firms that have real estate tie-ins, whether as brokerages or as referral generating services for realty agents.