Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 531–560 | Cite as

Continued Success or Caught in the Housing Bubble? Black Immigrants and the Housing Market Crash



The recent housing market crisis in the United States led to a drastic drop in homeownership and house values nationwide. While research documents the disproportionate impact of the housing market crisis on blacks, and the surprisingly small effect on immigrants, no research investigates how individuals who are both black and immigrants fared. I use 2005–2007 and 2009–2011 pooled American Community Survey data (N = 2,000,689 and 2,013,001, respectively) to determine whether black immigrants’ housing market outcomes mirrored that of U.S.-born blacks or other immigrants during the housing crisis. Using the maximum likelihood estimator regression with a Heckman correction to measure race and nativity differences in homeownership and house value, I find that there is a great deal of diversity in black immigrant housing market outcomes. Caribbean immigrants experienced significantly larger drops in homeownership than U.S.-born whites and blacks and Asian immigrants, but there is no significant difference between whites and African immigrants. Consistent with previous research, living in major settlement areas meditated black immigrants’ housing market disadvantage. Despite the benefits of living in a co-ethnic community, both African and Caribbean immigrants experienced significantly larger drops in house value than U.S.-born blacks and whites and Asian immigrants. These findings indicate that black immigrants’ housing options are more rather than less constrained than U.S.-born blacks after the housing market crash. Given that the bulk of black wealth is held in home equity, reduced house values may also have long-term consequences on black immigrants’ ability to make, maintain, and pass on wealth across generations.


Race Nativity Homeownership Recession Ethnic enclave 


  1. Alba, R. D., & Logan, J. R. (1992a). Analyzing locational attainments: Constructing individual-level regression models using aggregate data. Sociological Methods & Research, 20(3), 367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alba, R. D., & Logan, J. R. (1992b). Assimilation and stratification in the homeownership patterns of racial and ethnic groups. International Migration Review, 26(4), 1314–1341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anacker, K. B. (2013). Immigrating, assimilating, cashing in? Analyzing property values in suburbs of immigrant gateways. Housing Studies, 28(5), 720–745.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ananat, E. O. (2011). The wrong side(s) of the tracks: The causal effects of racial segregation on urban poverty and inequality. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 3, 34–66.Google Scholar
  5. Anderson, M., Lopez, M. H. & Rohal, M. (2015). A rising share of the U.S. black population is foreign born; 9 percent are immigrants; and hile most are from the Caribbean, Africans drive recent growth. Washington, DC, Pew Research Center.Google Scholar
  6. Avery, R. B., Brevoort, K. P., & Canner, G. B. (2007). The 2006 HMDA Data. Federal Reserve Bulletin.Google Scholar
  7. Bayer, P., & McMillan, R. (2005). Racial sorting and neighborhood quality. NBER Working Paper Series. Cambridge, MA, National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  8. Besley, T., Coate, S., & Loury, G. (1993). The economics of rotating savings and credit associations. The American Economic Review, 83(4), 792–810.Google Scholar
  9. Blau, F. D., & Graham, J. W. (1990). Black-White differences in wealth and asset composition. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 105(2), 321–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bocian, D. G., Ernst, K. S., & Li, W. (2006). Unfair lending: The effect of race and ethnicity on the price of subprime mortgages. Washington, DC: Center for Responsible Lending.Google Scholar
  11. Bocian, D. G., Li, W., Reid, C., & Quercia, R. G. (2011). Disparities in mortgage lending and foreclosures. Lost ground. Wasington, DC: Center for Responsible Lending.Google Scholar
  12. Bohn, S., & Pearlman, S. (2013). Ethnic concentration and bank use in immigrant communities. Southern Economic Journal, 79(4), 864–885.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Burd-Sharps, S., & Rasch, R. (2015). Impact of the US housing crisis on the racial wealth gap across generations. Brooklyn, NY: Social Science Research Council.Google Scholar
  14. Cahill, M. E., & Franklin, R. S. (2013). The minority homeownership gap, home foreclosure, and nativity: Evidence from Miami-Dade County. Journal of Regional Science, 53(1), 91–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Charles, K. K., & Hurst, E. (2002). The transition to home ownership and the black-white wealth gap. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 84(2), 281–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Chomsisengphet, S., & Pennington-Cross, A. (2006). The evolution of the subprime mortgage market. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, 88(1), 31–56.Google Scholar
  17. Clark, W. A. V. (2013). The aftermath of the general financial crisis for the ownership society: What happened to low-income homeowners in the US? International Journal of Housing Policy, 13(3), 227–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Colburn, A. (1998). Immigration and housing. Housing Economics, 46(7), 11–14.Google Scholar
  19. Coleman, M., IV, LaCour-Little, M., & Vandell, K. D. (2008). Subprime lending and the housing bubble: Tail wags dog? Journal of Housing Economics, 17, 272–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Collins, J. M., Lam, K., & Herbert, C. E. (2011). State mortgage foreclosure policies and lender interventions: Impact on borrower behavior in default. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 30(2), 216–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Corra, M. K., & Kimuna, S. R. (2009). Double Jeopardy? Female African and Caribbean immigrants in the United States. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 35(6), 1015–1035.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Coulson, N. E. (1999). Why are Hispanic- and Asian-American homeownership rates so low? Immigration and other factors. Journal of Urban Economics, 45, 209–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Cox, D., & Rank, M. R. (1992). Inter-vivos transfers and intergenerational exchange. The review of Economics and Statistics, 74, 305–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Dawkins, C. J. (2005). Racial gaps in the transition to first-time homeownership: The role of residential location. Journal of Urban Economics, 58, 537–554.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. DiMartino, D., & Duca, J. V. (2007). The rise and fall of subprime mortgages. Economic Letter, 2(11), 1–8.Google Scholar
  26. Dion, K. L. (2001). Immigrants’ perceptions of housing discrimination in Toronto: The housing new Canadians project. Journal of Social Issues, 57(3), 523–539.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ermisch, J. F., & Wright, R. E. (1994). Interpretation of negative sample selection effects in wage offer equations. Applied Economic Letters, 1, 187–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Faber, J. W. (2013). Racial dynamics of subprime mortgage lending at the peak. Housing Policy Debate, 23(2), 328–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Fannie Mae Foundation. (1998). African American and Hispanic attitudes on home ownership: A guide for mortgage industry leaders. Washington, DC: Fannie Mae Foundation.Google Scholar
  30. Flanagan, C., & Wilson, E. (2013). Home value and homeownership rates: Recession and post-recession comparisons from 2007-2009 to 2010-2012. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.Google Scholar
  31. Flippen, C. (2001). Racial and ethnic inequality in homeownership and housing equity. The Sociological Quarterly, 42(2), 121–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Foner, N. (1979). West Indians in New York City and London: A comparative analysis. International Migration Review, 13(2), 284–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Freeman, L. (2002). Does spatial assimilation work for black immigrants in the US? Urban Studies, 39(11), 1983–2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Freeman, L. (2005). Black homeownership: The role of temporal changes and residential segregation at the end of the 20th century. Social Science Quarterly, 86(2), 403–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. (2008). Declining credit & growing disparities: Key findings from HMDA 2007. Furman Center Report. New York: Furman Center for Real Estate & Urban Policy.Google Scholar
  36. Gerardi, K. & Willen, P. (2009). Subprime mortgages, foreclosures, and urban neighborhoods. The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy 9(3), Article 12.Google Scholar
  37. Gonzalez-Fuentes, M. V., & Iglesias-Fernandez, C. (2013). Homeownership as a sign of immigrants’ consumer acculturation: The role of region of origin. Journal of Global Marketing, 26(2), 80–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Goodman, J. L., Jr., & Ittner, J. B. (1992). The accuracy of home owners’ estimates of house value. Journal of Housing Economics, 2, 339–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Gottschalck, A. O. (2008). Net worth and the assets of households: 2002. Current Population Reports (pp. 70–115). Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.Google Scholar
  40. Grinstein-Weiss, M., Key, C., & Carrillo, S. (2015). Homeownership, the great recession, and wealth: Evidence from the survey of consumer finances. Housing Policy Debate, 25(3), 419–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hall, M., Crowder, K., & Spring, A. (2015). Variations in housing foreclosures by race and place, 2005–2012. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 660(1), 217–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Harding, J. P., Rosenblatt, E., & Yao, V. W. (2009). The contagion effect of foreclosed properties. Journal of Urban Economics, 66, 164–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Haurin, D. R., & Rosenthal, S. S. (2009). Language, agglomeration and hispanic homeownership. Real Estate Economics, 37(2), 155–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Hilber, C. A. L., & Liu, Y. (2008). Explaining the black-white homeownership gap: The role of own wealth, parental externalities and locational preferences. Journal of Housing Economics, 17, 152–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Iceland, J., & Scopilliti, M. (2008). Immigrant residential segregation in U.S. metropolitan areas, 1980–2000. Demography, 45(1), 79–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Immergluck, D. (2009). The foreclosure crisis, foreclosed properties, and federal policy. Journal of the American Planning Association, 75(4), 406–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Immergluck, D. (2012). Distressed and dumped market dynamics of low-value, foreclosed properties during the advent of the federal neighborhood stabilization program. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 32, 48–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Itzigsohn, J., & Dore-Cabral, C. (2000). Competing identities? Race, ethnicity and panethnicity among Dominicans in the United States. Sociological Forum, 15(2), 225–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. (2011). The State of the Nation’s Housing: 2011. The State of the Nation’s Housing. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University.Google Scholar
  50. Kent, M. M. (2007). Immigration and America’s Black population. Population Bulletin, 62(4), 1–16.Google Scholar
  51. Kim, S., & Squires, G. D. (1995). Lender characteristics and racial disparities in mortgage lending. Journal of Housing Research, 6(1), 99–113.Google Scholar
  52. Kochhar, R., Gonzalez-Barrera, A., & Dockterman, D. (2009). Through boom and bust: Minorities, immigrants and homeownership. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center.Google Scholar
  53. Krivo, L. J., & Kaufman, R. L. (2004). Housing and wealth inequality: Racial-ethnic differences in home equity in the United States. Demography, 41(3), 585–605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Kuebler, M., & Rugh, J. S. (2013). New evidence on racial and ethnic disparities in homeownership in the United States from 2001 to 2010. Social Science Research, 42, 1357–1374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Landale, N. S., & Oropesa, R. S. (2002). White, Black, or Puerto Rican? Racial self-identification among mainland and Island Puerto Ricans. Social Forces, 81(1), 231–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Larsen, L. J., & Walters, N. P. (2013). Married-couple households by nativity status: 2011. American Community Survey Briefs. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.Google Scholar
  57. Lee, S. W., & Myers, D. (2003). Local housing-market effects on tenure choice. Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, 18, 129–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Lee, K. O., & Painter, G. (2013). What happens to household formation in a recession? Journal of Urban Economics, 76, 93–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Long, J. S. (1997). Regression models for categorical and limited dependent variables. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  60. Manturuk, K., Riley, S., & Janneke, R. (2012). Perception vs. reality: The relationship between low-income homeownership, perceived financial stress, and financial hardship. Social Science Research, 41, 276–286.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Martin, R. (2011). The local geographies of the financial crisis: From the housing bubble to economic recession and beyond. Journal of Economic Geography, 11, 587–618.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Mayer, N., Tatian, P., Temkin, K., & Calhoun, C. (2012). Has foreclosure counseling helped troubled homeowners? Evidence from the Evaluation of the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.Google Scholar
  63. McGarry, K., & Schoeni, R. F. (1997). Transfer behavior within the family: Results from asset and health dynamics study. The Journals of Gerontology, 52B, 82–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Mequanent, G. (1996). The role of informal organizations in resettlement adjustment process: A case study of Iqubs, Idirs and Mahabers in the Ethiopian Community in Toronto. Refuge, 15(3), 30–39.Google Scholar
  65. Modestino, A. S., & Dennett, J. (2013). Are American homeowners locked into their houses? The impact of housing market conditions on state-to-state migration. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 43, 322–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Murdie, R. A. (2008). Pathways to housing: The experiences of sponsored refugees and refugee claimants in accessing permanent housing in Toronto. International Migration & Integration, 9, 81–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Myers, D., & Lee, S. W. (1998). Immigrant trajectories into homeownership: A temporal analysis of residential assimilation. International Migration Review, 32(3), 593–625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Myers, D., & Liu, C. Y. (2005). The emerging dominance of immigrants in the U.S. housing market 1970-2000. Urban Policy and Research, 23(3), 347–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. O’Brien, R. L. (2012). Depleting capital? Race, wealth and informal financial assistance. Social Forces, 91(2), 375–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Owusu, T. Y. (1998). To buy or not to buy: Determinants of home ownership among ghanian immigrants in Toronto. The Canadian Geographer, 42(1), 40–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Painter, G., Gabriel, S., & Myers, D. (2001). Race, immigrant status, and housing tenure choice. Journal of Urban Economics, 49, 150–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Painter, G., & Yu, Z. (2014). Caught in the housing bubble: Immigrants’ housing outcomes in traditional gateways and newly emerging destinations. Urban Studies, 51(4), 781–809.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Park, J., & Iceland, J. (2011). Residential segregation in metropolitan established immigrant gateways and new destinations, 1990-2000. Social Science Research, 40, 811–821.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Powell, M. (2009). Bank accused of pushing mortgage deals on blacks. The New York Times. New York.Google Scholar
  75. Rappaport, J. (2008). Consumption amenities and city population density. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 38, 533–552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Ratner, M. (1997). Ethnographic studies of homeownership and home mortgage financing: An introduction. Cityscape, 3(1), 1–11.Google Scholar
  77. Renuart, E. (2004). An overview of the predatory mortgage lending process. Housing Policy Debate, 15(3), 467–502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Rosenbaum, E. (1996). The influence of race on hispanic housing choices: New York City, 1978-1987. Urban Affairs Review, 32, 217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Rosenbaum, E., & Friedman, S. (2001). Differences in the locational attainment of immigrant and native-born households with children in New York City. Demography, 38(3), 337–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Ruggles, S., Alexander, J. T., Genadek, K., Goeken, R., Schroeder, M. B., Sobek, M. (2010). Integrated public use microdata series: Version 5.0 [Machine-readable database]. Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota Population Center [producer and distributor].Google Scholar
  81. Rugh, J. S., & Massey, D. S. (2010). Racial segregation and the American foreclosure crisis. American Sociological Review, 75(5), 629–651.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Singer, D. A. (2010). Migrant remittances and exchange rate regimes in the developing world. The American Political Science Review, 104(2), 307–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Stewart, D. M. (2007). Collecting on their investments, one woman at a time: Economic partnerships among Caribbean immigrant women in the United States. International Journal of African Renaissance Studies - Multi-, Inter- and Transdisciplinarity, 2(1), 35–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Stuart, G. (2003). Discriminating risk: The U.S. mortgage lending industry in the Twentieth Century. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  85. Tesfai, R. (2016). The interaction between race and nativity on the housing market: Homeownership and house value of black immigrants in the United States. International Migration Review, 50(4), 1005–1045.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. The Economist. (2013). Crash course: The origins of the financial crisis. The Economist. London, The Economist Newspaper Limited.Google Scholar
  87. Turner, M. A., & Skidmore, F. (Eds.). (1999). Mortgage lending discrimination: A review of existing evidence. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.Google Scholar
  88. White, M. J., & Sassler, S. (2000). Judging not only by color: Ethnicity, nativity, and neighborhood attainment. Social Science Quarterly, 81(4), 997–1013.Google Scholar
  89. Williams, R., Nesiba, R., & McConnell, E. D. (2005). The changing face of inequality in home mortgage lending. Social Problems, 52(2), 181–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Yu, Z., & Myers, D. (2010). Misleading comparisons of homeownership rates when the variable effect of household formation is ignored: Explaining rising homeownership and the homeownership gap between Blacks and Asians in the US. Urban Studies, 47(12), 2615–2640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Zenk, S. N., Schulz, A. J., Israel, B. A., James, S. A., Bao, S., & Wilson, M. L. (2005). Neighborhood racial composition, neighborhood poverty, and the spatial accessibility of supermarkets in metropolitan detroit. American Journal of Public Health, 95, 660–667.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Zhan, M., Anderson, S. G., & Zhang, S. (2012). Utilization of formal and informal financial services among immigrants in the United States. Social Development Issues, 34(3), 1–17.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Temple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations