Optimizing Foreclosed Housing Acquisitions in Societal Response to Foreclosures


Authors: Senay Solak, Armagan Bayram, Mehmet Gumus, Yueran Zhuo

Publication: Operations Research, Forthcoming


A dramatic increase in U.S. mortgage foreclosures during and after the great economic recession of 2007-2009 had devastating impacts on the society and the economy. In response to such negative impacts, non-profit community development corporations (CDCs) throughout the U.S. utilize various resources, such as grants and lines of credit, in acquiring and redeveloping foreclosed housing units to support neighborhood stabilization and revitalization. Given that the cost of all such acquisitions far exceeds the resources accessible by these non-profit organizations, we identify socially optimal policies for CDCs in dynamically selecting foreclosed properties to target for potential acquisition as they become available over time. We evaluate our analytical results in a numerical study involving a CDC serving a major city in the U.S, and specify social return based thresholds defining selection decisions at different funding levels. We also find that for most foreclosed properties CDCs should not offer more than the asking price, and should typically consider overbidding only when the total available budget is low. Overall, comparisons of optimal policies with historical acquisition data suggest a potential improvement of around 20% in expected total impacts of the acquisitions on nearby property values. Considering a CDC with annual fund availability of $4 million for investment, this corresponds to an estimated additional value of around $280,000 for the society.

Desautels 22

In recognition of research excellence as it relates to publications in top-tier management journals, our Faculty has compiled a list of high quality, peer-reviewed management journals, which is referred to as the Desautels 22.