Hye-Sung Han and Bill Rohe (Faculty Advisor)Supported by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, this study examines the impact of housing abandonment upon neighborhoods in Baltimore, Maryland from 1991 to 2010. While the ongoing mortgage crisis has brought heightened awareness to housing problems nationwide, including foreclosed, abandoned, and vacant properties, the problem of housing abandonment is not new. Long before the current mortgage crisis, many large metropolitan areas were already grappling with the problems of housing abandonment and neighborhood decline. This problem, however, is no longer confined to older cities but is spreading to small towns and suburbs across the country due to the recent dramatic rise in foreclosures. Despite of the extent of housing abandonment and its negative impacts, research on this topic and the development of effective policies to address it have not been at the forefront of urban research or policy making in recent years. This research attempts to provide empirical evidence that would yield more concrete understanding of the relationship between housing abandonment and neighborhood decline. To achieve this goal, the project addresses three primary research questions: 1) What is the relationship between housing abandonment and neighborhood decline as measured by property values? 2) Is there a threshold in abandonment beyond which a neighborhood declines dramatically? and 3) Are some neighborhoods more resilient to the negative impact of housing abandonment and if so, why? For more information on this project contact Hye-Sung Han at hyesung@email.unc.edu.

Read the published results in Housing Policy Debate.