Publications

  • Foreclosure and Kids: Does Losing Your Home Mean Losing Your School?

    The second in a two-part series on the effects of the foreclosure crisis on children, this report addresses the relationship between foreclosure and student mobility. New York University’s Institute for Education and Social Policy (IESP) and Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy find that New York City public school students living in buildings entering foreclosure are more likely to switch schools than their peers, less likely to leave the school system, and that their new schools tend to be lower performing than the ones they left.

  • 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.

  • Improving U.S. Housing Finance through Reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Assessing the Options

    For several decades, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, were the largest players in an American housing finance system that provided effective mortgage financing for many millions of Americans.  Since early 2008, the firms’ near-insolvency has called their future into question.  This paper lays out criteria for evaluating the different proposals for reform of the two firms.

  • Kids and Foreclosures: New York City

    While researchers have noted the deleterious effects of foreclosure on surrounding properties and neighborhoods, little is known about the effects of foreclosure on children. This report by researchers at New York University’s Institute for Education and Social Policy (IESP) and Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy begins to address the issue by estimating the number of students in New York City affected by the current foreclosure crisis.

  • Loan Modifications: What Works

    We use a unique dataset that combines data on loan, borrower, property, and neighborhood characteristics of modified mortgages on properties in New York City to examine the determinates of successful modifications. From November 2007 through March 2011, over 2.1 million mortgages were modified in the United States, and policymakers have heralded such modifications as a key to addressing the ongoing foreclosure crisis. This dataset includes both HAMP modifications and proprietary modifications. The analysis builds upon a prior paper in which the determinants of loan modifications were examined.

  • Mortgage Foreclosures and the Shifting Context of Crime in Micro-Neighborhoods

    In the wake of the housing crisis there is growing concern that increased mortgage foreclosures may lead to physical deterioration of buildings and increased vacancy rates in neighborhoods, undermining neighborhood social controls, and causing increases in local crime. While some recent research suggests that increased mortgage foreclosures in micro-neighborhoods cause modest increases in crime (Ellen, Lacoe, and Sharygin, 2013; Cui, 2010), this paper considers whether foreclosures lead to increased crime on a block, as well as the mechanisms through which foreclosures affect neighborhood crime. To shed light on mechanisms, we investigate whether and how foreclosures shift the location and type of criminal activity by changing the relative attractiveness to potential offenders of one location versus another. For instance, the presence of a vacant, foreclosed building may make it more likely that a drug dealer will sell drugs in a building rather than on the street. As a result, crime occurring inside residences (and in vacant buildings in particular) and on the street may increase by different magnitudes. In addition, we consider whether foreclosures affect resident reports of disorder. Using richly detailed foreclosure, 311, and crime data geo-coded to the blockface (a street segment in-between the two closest cross-streets), we estimate the impact of foreclosures on the location of crime within blockfaces. This research focuses on Chicago, Illinois. Like many areas of the country, housing prices in Chicago reached a peak in 2006, and declined through 2011. In September 2011, 8.7 percent of the mortgages in the Chicago metropolitan area were in foreclosure, giving Chicago the 11th highest foreclosure rate among the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the country. Recent media reports claim that foreclosed and abandoned buildings in Chicago attract criminal activity including gang activity, drug use, and burglaries, in addition to graffiti, and theft of copper pipes and radiators (Knight and O’Shea, 2011). This study takes an empirical look at how foreclosures have changed patterns of crime in Chicago.

  • Navigating Uncertain Waters: Mortgage Lending in the Wake of the Great Recession

    This report summarizes our February 4, 2011 Roundtable of the same name, and provides an in-depth exploration of credit availability and lending patterns during the recession.

  • Neighborhood Effects of Concentrated Mortgage Foreclosures

    As the national mortgage crisis has worsened, an increasing number of communities are facing declining housing prices and high rates of foreclosure. Central to the call for government intervention in this crisis is the claim that foreclosures not only hurt those who are losing their homes to foreclosure, but also harm neighbors by reducing the value of nearby properties and in turn, reducing local governments’ tax bases. The extent to which foreclosures do in fact drive down neighboring property values has become a crucial question for policy-makers. In this paper, we use a unique dataset on property sales and foreclosure filings in New York City from 2000 to 2005 to identify the effects of foreclosure starts on housing prices in the surrounding neighborhood. Regression results suggest that above some threshold, proximity to properties in foreclosure is associated with lower sales prices. The magnitude of the price discount increases with the number of properties in foreclosure, but not in a linear relationship.

  • New York City Quarterly Housing Update 2011: 2nd Quarter

    In an analysis of second quarter housing indicators, the Furman Center finds that home sales volume declined 20 percent from the first to the second quarter of 2011, although home prices citywide held steady. The report also finds that new construction is slowly starting to return with 1,556 units authorized by new residential building permits between January and June 2010, compared with 1,703 units authorized in all of 2010.

  • New York Quarterly Housing Update 2011: 1st Quarter

    In an analysis of first quarter housing indicators, the Furman Center finds that housing prices declined between the last quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011 in every borough except Queens, where prices remained essentially flat. The volume of home sales continued to decline in every borough compared to the previous year. The Quarterly Housing Update is unique among New York City housing reports because it incorporates sales data, new construction indicators, and foreclosures. It also presents a repeat sales index for each borough to capture price appreciation while controlling for housing quality.