Real Estate Terms

Affinity Housing Definition

Affinity housing allows minority groups with shared identities to live in one community exempting themselves from certain aspects of the Fair Housing Act.

To understand affinity communities, you’ll need to learn from real estate professionals. Luckily, we’re here to give you valuable insight based on years of industry experience. 

In this post, we’ll define affinity housing, explain why it exists, and give examples of who it benefits. Keep reading to learn more about this crucial term before the real estate exam!

What Is Affinity Housing?

Affinity housing allows marginalized groups with shared backgrounds to live in their own communities, avoiding certain FHA guidelines. These affinity communities are commonly found in colleges; they allow students with protected characteristics to live in a familiar environment and culture.

Affinity housing is not just for university students. Marginalized groups can apply to live in affinity communities almost anywhere, but let’s start with the most common example.

Affinity Housing Example 

One of the most common examples of affinity housing is college dormitories. Not only are these spaces exclusive to students, but they often offer separate spaces for students with shared identities.

This allows minority students of the same races, genders, and backgrounds to live in an affinity house of their own. These students can enjoy staying in a safe environment while experiencing a strengthened sense of community among peers. 

The Purpose of Affinity Housing in Real Estate

Affinity housing helps marginalized groups avoid housing discrimination. Too often, housing providers engage in discriminatory practices that harm minorities. Even when minorities can find housing opportunities, they may experience racism in their communities.

Affinity communities exist to erase many of these concerns. For example, minorities don’t have to worry about being denied tenancy based on their identity. In fact, it’s their identity that makes them perfect candidates to live in affinity housing.

Tenants in these spaces also won’t have to worry about prejudiced neighbors. Residents in the community will have shared cultures that bond them together.

Types of Affinity Communities

Many affinity communities are home to different protected classes. Let’s look at some key examples below.

Black Affinity Housing

At many colleges, black students can live in affinity groups on campus. These communities let black students embrace the college experience while feeling safe.

Affinity housing also helps students on campus foster friendships with peers from similar backgrounds. Students interested in living in an affinity house should check with campus resources for options.

Same-Sex Housing

College dormitories generally offer same-sex housing options. This gives students living on campus the choice to live among peers of the same sex and gender identities.

There are many benefits to same-sex housing, some of which include:

  • Fewer distractions while studying
  • Dressing without worrying about attention from the opposite sex
  • Less temptation for students against premarital sex
  • Easier time making friends
  • Increased safety for female students

First-Generation Affinity Spaces

Some colleges have affinity groups for first-generation college students. These groups allow a minority population of students to meet and support each other. 

First-gen students can use affinity spaces to socialize with peers with similar backgrounds. They can work together to overcome academic challenges and share personal struggles.

Senior Living Affinity Communities

Many communities only allow senior citizens to rent out their housing units. Property owners must file for a permit to impose age and family requirements on tenants.

In senior living communities, the protected classes are age and familial status. These affinity communities often require that:

  1. Tenants are 55 and older
  2. Tenants do not have young children

Senior communities give tenants a safe and quiet living space, plus the opportunity to make friends in the same age demographic.

Religious Affinity Housing

Religious minorities can also live in affinity communities among residents with shared beliefs. These communities are noncommercial, which means they do not make a profit.

Examples of religious affinity housing include:

  1. Convents for Catholic nuns
  2. Monasteries for Buddhist monks 

These living spaces are generally funded by donations from their respective churches.

Private Club Housing

Some private clubs offer exclusive housing as an amenity for their members. These units may be timeshares, lodges, or hotels that club members can rent out.

The First Amendment covers all private clubs, so owners can be picky about who has access to housing amenities.

Affinity Housing vs. Segregation: What’s the Difference?

You may wonder, “How is affinity housing different from segregation?” The most crucial difference is that affinity housing is optional. Marginalized groups can choose to live in these spaces, or anywhere else they like.

The point of affinity communities isn’t to isolate protected classes from others. Rather, it’s to give minorities access to safe and affordable housing options.

What to Know Before the Real Estate Exam

Affinity housing allows groups with similar identities to live in a shared community. This helps protect vulnerable classes, ranging from first-year college students to senior citizens.

This term is a must-know for the real estate exam, but there’s still a lot to learn before you take the big test. Brush up on essential real estate terms beforehand with our Real Estate Flashcards!

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