Racialized Recovery: Post-Foreclosure Pathways in Distressed Neighborhoods in Boston

Jackelyn Hwang

W15-1: This study examines trajectories of foreclosed properties in areas severely impacted by the foreclosure crisis and their association with local crime and disorder. Studies have found that property maintenance varies by owner type and that the owner type varies by local neighborhood characteristics. Others have argued that foreclosures, particularly those that are poorly maintained, have negative spillover effects on local neighborhood conditions. To disentangle the process, the author matches data from Boston, MA for constituent service requests, inspection violations, building permits, 911 calls, and crime reports to foreclosure records from 2006-2011 and subsequent transactions for each foreclosed property in Boston’s hard hit areas. The author finds that foreclosed properties experience distinct pathways depending on the racial and ethnic composition of the local context, and these pathways have distinct externalities on the local area. The results demonstrate that the foreclosure recovery varies unevenly by neighborhood race and ethnicity, reproducing patterns of neighborhood inequality.