Race and the Value of Owner-Occupied Housing 1940-1990
Collins, William J.
Margo, Robert A.
This paper begins by documenting racial convergence in the value of owner-occupied housing from 1940 to 1990. Most of this convergence occurred before 1970, as black and white home owners became more similar in terms of household and housing characteristics that were positively correlated with housing values. The post-1970 story is rather less encouraging. During the 1970s, convergence in housing values stalled, and in fact, the "unexplained" portion of the value gap increased. We explore the post-1970 experience from a variety of perspectives. We examine the changing connection between residential segregation and the racial value gap; we document trends in the correlation between income and central-city residence; and we explore the correlation between riots in the 1960s and the racial gap in housing values thereafter.