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Emerging Forms of Racial Inequality in Homeownership Exit, 1968–2009

Gregory Sharp, Matthew Hall
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/sp.2014.12161 427-447 First published online: 1 August 2014


Because homeownership continues to be a key mechanism underlying racial inequality in America, recent developments that led to the foreclosure crisis bring to the forefront issues concerning minority homeowners' ability to sustain ownership. This article uses longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to examine racial differences in the likelihood of homeownership exit over the last four decades. We find that black homeowners are at a significantly higher risk of transitioning to renter status than are white homeowners, even after accounting for life-course, socioeconomic, and housing characteristics, and the selection into homeownership. Most importantly, we show that the racial gap in ownership exit has widened substantially over time, especially among owners who purchased their homes in the 1990s or later. These findings are consistent with arguments that the nature of racial stratification in U.S. housing markets has shifted over time from overt market exclusion to market exploitation.

  • homeownership
  • homeownership exit
  • racial inequality
  • historical stratification
  • wealth inequality