Main content start

Racialized Recovery: Post-Foreclosure Pathways in Boston Neighborhoods

City & Community, a section of the American Sociological Association

Following the Great Recession, homeownership rates declined precipitously, raising concerns for the stability and well–being of neighborhoods. While many studies document shifts in household constraints, this article draws from foreclosure records from 2006 to 2011, subsequent transactions, tax exemption filings, and maintenance data in Boston, Massachusetts to show how the foreclosure crisis altered the landscape of ownership and unfolded differentially across hard–hit neighborhoods. Results from logistic regression analyses show that corporate investors were more likely to purchase foreclosures in predominantly black hard–hit neighborhoods, while owner–occupants were more likely to purchase foreclosures in hard–hit mixed–ethnoracial neighborhoods with substantial shares of non–Hispanic/Latinx whites. Relative to other foreclosure buyers, corporations were more likely to resell previously foreclosed properties to other investors and have reported maintenance issues against them. The findings have implications for further disadvantages for hard–hit black neighborhoods and highlight how the housing crisis exacerbated neighborhood inequality by race and ethnicity.