Mapping Single Family Rentals onto (Income and Racial) Segregation and Diversity in Atlanta, Georgia

Authors: Taylor Hafley*, University of Georgia
Topics: Urban Geography
Keywords: housing tenure, race, suburbs, financialization
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Estherwood, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper examines the location of corporate owned Single Family Rentals (SFRs) in relation to income and race. Amid rising rental prices and a national decline in homeownership, I explore one aspect of the emerging geographies of metropolitan housing, single family detached rental units owned and managed by corporate landlords, as they relate to income and racial segregation/diversity. Specifically, I examine the activity of Invitation Homes, the largest private equity landlord in the United States, in DeKalb and Gwinnett counties by using address level information for the 1,354 IH owned SFRs in the two Atlanta metropolitan area counties. I develop a new model of conceptualizing and visualizing how income groups -- low-, moderate-, and upper-income -- are sorted across the metropolitan landscape. To do so, I apply Holloway, Wright, and Ellis' (2012) conceptualization of racial segregation and diversity as a both/and rather than an either/or to study income segmentation. Research documents that technology and automation played a significant role in enabling the 'scaling up' of the mom and pop rentals to corporations. To evaluate uneven housing markets in turbulent economic times, these corporate landlords relied on algorithms to identify value. How do race and income fit into their equation? In this paper, I explore the racial and income neighborhood demographics. As rental housing emerges as a new frontier for financialization where does Invitation Homes 'fit' at the intersection of race and class?

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