Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Sociology

Major Professor

James Cavendish

Keywords

Discrimination, Home Ownership, Inequality, Spatial Segregation, Wealth Gap

Abstract

Informed by the literature regarding the gap in wealth between white and non-white households in the United States, as well as the literature on segregation and neighborhood preference, this research explores the home value component of the wealth gap in Hillsborough County, Florida. It finds that homes in Predominantly Black or Hispanic neighborhoods are not only undervalued compared to Predominantly White and heterogeneous neighborhoods, but have appreciated more slowly at least since 2000. The research also finds that buyers identifying as black or Hispanic are more likely than those identifying as white or "other" to purchase homes in Predominantly Black or Hispanic neighborhoods. Controlling for income, loan amount and loan product, buyers identifying as Black or Hispanic select neighborhoods with lower median home values and lower rates of appreciation than do those identifying as white. Given that these homebuyers spend as much both initially and in payments over time as do those who identify as white, while their purchases are worth less and appreciate less, this research contributes to the literature by positing that the racial wealth gap will increase as blacks and Hispanics receive lower returns on their comparatively greater home investments than do whites.

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