Skip to main content

Who Owns Our Homes? Methods to Group and Unmask Anonymous Corporate Owners


Local Data for Local Action

Volume 26 Number 1

Mark D. Shroder
Michelle P. Matuga

Who Owns Our Homes? Methods to Group and Unmask Anonymous Corporate Owners

Renz Torres
University of Florida and Shimberg Center for Housing Studies

Institutional investors have been acquiring larger shares of single-family housing markets since the financial crisis of the late 2000s. Evidence shows that institutional single-family property owners negatively impact Black homeownership and evict tenants at higher rates than small landlords.

Identifying institutional ownership in housing is a challenge because it is difficult to assess who owns what. The necessary data are often unavailable or difficult to use. When the data are available, widespread use of limited liability companies and multilevel subsidiary structures make it difficult to identify the ultimate benefiting owner.

This article presents a graph-based analytical model designed to identify sums of properties held by groups of subsidiaries. Florida tax parcel and business registry data were transformed into a graph data structure to cluster owners based on directly or indirectly shared names, addresses, corporate filings, and shared officers. Applying this method to the Jacksonville, Florida, metropolitan area allowed the author to identify the biggest owners of single-family homes, explore aggregate spatial patterns of owners by size, analyze the expansion of two institutional investors’ portfolios, and identify three regulatorily concentrated census tracts.

Although this method used single-family housing as a case study, it can easily analyze ownership in other housing sectors. The model can include heterogenous datasets, such as evictions, foreclosures, and financial flows, to identify large evictors, large owners of foreclosed properties, and central financial players.

Previous Article    |    Next Article


image of city buildings