Housing Crisis and Recession (2007 – 2009)


In 2007, years of frenzied real-estate speculation and risky sub-prime lending culminated in a crash in housing prices. Suddenly families were “underwater”: stuck with homes that were worth less than their mortgages and which no one would buy. As many as 10 million households lost their homes to foreclosure. Research shows that foreclosure patterns aligned closely with race and ethnicity: black, Latino, and mixed-race neighborhoods saw exceptionally high foreclosure rates (at least partly because they had been targeted for sub-prime loans). Moreover, the migration that resulted from foreclosure increased racial segregation, reversing gains the U.S. had made before the crisis. In short, the housing crisis had a disproportionate impact on certain groups and helped create the concentrated housing instability that would smooth gentrification’s way post-recession.


Photo:Staff Sgt. Kenneth Kennemer. Nellis Housing Privatization Project. September 11, 2007.  Nellis Airforce Base.
Matthew Hall, Kyle Crowder, and Amy Spring. “Neighborhood Foreclosures, Racial/Ethnic Transitions, and Residential Segregation.” American Sociological Review, 80, no.13 (2015): pp.526-549.