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The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

  • Volume 19, Number 2
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga

Are Homeowners Better Neighbors During Housing Booms? Understanding Civic and Social Engagement by Tenure During the Housing Market Cycle

Deirdre Pfeiffer
Arizona State University

Eric A. Morris
Clemson University

Research has shown that homeowners’ concern with their property values may lead them to have greater civic and neighborhood social engagement than renters. However, it has not been well examined whether changing property values during the housing market cycle affect this purported social benefit of homeownership. Using 2003 to 2013 American Time Use Survey data and Cragg two-part hurdle regression analysis, we assess differences in homeowners’ and renters’ civic and neighborhood social engagement during the stages of the recent housing market cycle. We find that, holding other characteristics constant, homeowners were more likely than renters to volunteer but spent less time in social activities with neighbors than renters, regardless of the housing market stage. Differences in civic and social engagement by tenure did not vary in consistent or expected ways across the stages of the cycle. These findings reinforce claims that homeownership has civic benefits, but evidence is lacking that homeowners make better neighbors than renters. Our findings also suggest that policies to intervene in the housing market to promote neighborhood cohesion need not vary across the housing market cycle.

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