Yale University Study Examines the Racially Disparate Impact of Tax Deed Foreclosures

A new working paper by Cameron LaPoint, an assistant professor of finance at Yale School of Management, examines the racially disparate impact of tax deed foreclosures, a practice that allows local governments to sell tax-delinquent properties at auction.

In 2013, the Washington Post ran a series of articles about D.C. residents—many of them elderly, low-income, and Black — who had lost their homes over tax debts as low as $134. Dr. LaPoint’s research looks at how widespread tax deed foreclosures are and what effect they have on communities. He found that property tax foreclosure accelerates gentrification and contributes to the racial wealth gap by forcing out nonwhite homeowners and clearing the way for high-end property development.

“In terms of who gets severely delinquent and who eventually gets foreclosed on, they are disproportionately nonwhite homeowners,” Dr. LaPoint says. Their homes, he discovered, often end up in the hands of developers: “You might see, several years down the line, that the single-family home that was foreclosed on ends up being converted to a more luxury residential unit.”

One of the most striking findings in the studyt is that 70 percent of homeowners whose properties ended up in a tax lien auction had already paid off their mortgages and owned their homes outright. “That makes it even more sad,” Dr. LaPoint says, “because there’s more equity being stolen.”

Dr. LaPoint is currently working to expand his research to produce the first nationwide database of such tax foreclosures.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

In Memoriam: O. Jerome Green, 1954-2024

President of historically Black Shorter College O. Jerome Green passed way unexpectedly on April 8. Since he became president in 2012, the college has experienced record-breaking enrollment and graduation rates, created new academic programs, and established the STEM Center for Academic Excellence.

Federal Report Uncovers Lack of Faculty Diversity and Delay in Federal Discrimination Complaint Processing

In addition to a lack of diversity in higher education faculty, the report revealed a frequent delay by the Department of Education when referring discrimination complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Christopher Span Appointed Dean of Rutgers University Graduate School of Education

Dr. Span, professor of education policy, organization, and leadership at the University of Illinois, is a scholar of African American educational history. He has experience in both academic and administrative leadership positions.

Lingering Mistrust From Tuskegee Syphilis Study Connected to COVID-19 Vaccine Reluctance

African Americans who lived within 750 miles of Tuskegee, Alabama, were more reluctant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine than their White neighbors, as well as Black Americans from other United States regions. The authors attribute this finding to lingering mistrust of public health services as a result of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study which ran from the 1930s to 1972.

Featured Jobs