Housing Finance and Foreclosures
As the country grapples with a financial crisis and credit markets have tightened, issues of housing finance and foreclosures have moved to the forefront for policymakers, as well as for individual families and neighborhoods. We seek to better understand current and historic trends in mortgage lending for homeowners, as well as in multi-family housing finance. Our research explores the future of Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs); the relationships between subprime lending, foreclosures and race; as well as the impact of foreclosures on property values, children’s education, and public safety.
We also release an annual analysis of mortgage lending data made public through the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), as well as Quarterly Housing Updates that analyze six key indicators of housing market performance in New York City.
Current Research Agenda
The Furman Center, along with NYU’s Institute for Education Policy and several of our research partners, was recently awarded a MacArthur Foundation grant to study the impact of housing instability, caused by foreclosures, on children’s performance in school.
Our current research projects include:
- Impact Of Foreclosures On School Mobility And Performance
- Modifications Of Distressed Mortgages
- Seriously Delinquent Mortgage Borrower Outcomes
- The Impact Of Foreclosures On Neighborhood Crime
- The Recent Resurgence of FHA Lending
- The Six Trillion Dollar Loss Of Housing Wealth In The Great Recession: What Are The Long-Term Consequences?
For a list of all the Furman Center’s current research projects, download our Current Research Agenda.
Amy Ellen Schwartz is Professor of Public Policy, Education, and Economics and Director of the NYU Institute for Education and Social Policy. She teaches courses in public finance and policy at both Wagner and The Steinhardt School of Education. Her research is primarily in applied econometrics, focusing on issues in urban policy and education policy and finance. Current research in K12 education examines the education of immigrant children in New York City, the race gap in test scores, and the impact of school organization and school size on student performance. Her work on economic development in New York City investigates the impact of Business Improvement Districts on property values. Previous research has examined the cost of college, evaluated the role of public infrastructure in determining state output, growth, and employment, and other issues in public finance.
Latest News & Events
- News Updates
Mark Willis Testifies in US Senate
Big Ideas for the Big Apple: Furman Center Mayoral Forum
- News Updates
POLICY BRIEF: Furman Center Finds Concentrated Foreclosures Lead to Increase in Neighborhood Crime
- News Updates
Mark Willis Presents on the State of the Housing Market at Forum
The Foreclosure Crisis and Community Development: Exploring REO Dynamics in Hard-Hit Neighborhoods
As the foreclosure crisis continues, many communities are faced with a glut of properties that have completed the foreclosure process and are now owned by banks or other mortgage lenders. These properties, referred to as “real estate owned (REO),” often sit vacant for extended periods and, recent studies suggest, depress neighboring property values. In this article we shed new light on the “REO problem” by studying the stock of REO properties at the neighborhood level in three urban areas: New York City, Miami-Dade County, Florida, and Fulton County, Georgia. We find that in each area, the number of REO properties was declining as of the end of 2011, and even in the hardest hit neighborhoods, only a small share of REO properties were purchased and “flipped” by investors. However, in Miami-Dade and Fulton Counties, a small number of neighborhoods continued to have very high concentrations of REO properties, and the REO stock in all three areas was increasingly made up of properties that had been in REO for more than three years.
Ingrid Gould Ellen, Josiah Madar, Mary Weselcouch. April 2013.
Do Foreclosures Cause Crime?
Foreclosures affect not only individual homeowners, but also the crime levels of the surrounding neighborhood. This study found that neighborhoods with concentrated foreclosures see an uptick in crime for each foreclosure notice issued. These effects are pronounced in hardest hit neighborhoods; that is, those with concentrated foreclosures. The report suggests that policing and community stabilizing efforts should prioritize areas with concentrated foreclosures, especially those where crime rates are already moderate to high.
Ingrid Gould Ellen, Johanna Ruth Lacoe. February 2013.
Housing and the Great Recession
The story of the Great Recession cannot be told without addressing housing and, in particular, the dramatic decline in housing prices that began in late 2006. A distinctive feature of the Great Recession is its intimate connection to the housing sector; indeed many would argue that the Great Recession was triggered by the widespread failure of risky mortgage products. Whatever the sources of the Great Recession may have been, the housing sector is still deeply troubled and is a key contributor to our ongoing economic duress. This recession brief lays out the main features of the downturn in the housing sector. It was produced as part of a series on the economic and social fallout of the recession in conjunction with the Russell Sage Foundation and the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality.
Ingrid Gould Ellen, Samuel Dastrup. October 2012.
Do Foreclosures Cause Crime?
The mortgage foreclosure crisis has generated increasing concerns about the effects of foreclosed properties on their surrounding neighborhoods, and on criminal activity in particular. Using a unique dataset of point-specific longitudinal crime and foreclosure data from New York City, this paper explores whether foreclosed properties affect criminal activity on the surrounding blockface – an individual street segment including properties on both sides of the street. The researchers report that foreclosures on a blockface lead to additional violent crimes and public order crimes, and these effects are largest when foreclosure activity is measured by the number of bank-owned properties on a blockface.
Ingrid Gould Ellen, Johanna Lacoe, Claudia Ayanna Sharygin. Journal of Urban Economics . August 2012.