A generation ago little attention was focused on low-income homeownership. Today homeownership rates among under-served groups, including low-income households and minorities, have risen to record levels. These groups are no longer at the margin of the housing market; they have benefited from more flexible underwriting standards and greater access to credit. However, there is still a racial/ethnic gap and the homeownership rates of minority and low-income households are still well below the national average. This volume gathers the observations of housing experts on low-income homeownership and its effects on households and communities. The book is divided into five chapters which focus on the following subjects: homeownership trends in the 1990s; overcoming borrower constraints; financial returns to low-income homeowners; low-income loan performance; and the socioeconomic impact of homeownership.
"As a collection on careful empirical research on important dimensions related to the public policy question of whether we should promote homeownership among low-income families, this book is without peer." --Edward G. Goetz, University of Minnesota, Social Service Review, 12/1/2003 "Habitat for Humanity is predicated on the premise that homeownership is a lofty and noble goal. Retsinas and Belsky have thoroughly examined the pertinent research and have offered the vision and substance so often missing in the rhetorical flourishes. " --Millard Fuller, Founder, Habitat for Humanity, 7/1/2002 "By rigorously studying the actual effects of homeownership, Harvard's Joint Center will make it possible to calibrate national housing policies to today's market circumstances, to recent financial advances, and to current demographic realities. Retsinas and Belsky's leadership and the Joint Center's convening power enable us to go beyond the platitudes about homeownership to seriously examine the real benefits and limitations of current homeownership. " --Henry Cisneros, Chairman and CEO, American CityVista, 7/1/2002 "Low-Income Homeownership takes a hard-nosed look at the conventional wisdom that homeownership is an integral part of the American dream and concludes that homeownership is good for low-income buyers, their communities, and the nation as a whole. This collection of writings by some of today's foremost housing experts not only documents the benefits of homeownership, it also candidly documents the risks. It comes to the inescapable conclusion that owning a home is still the most effective method of wealth accumulation in the United States. Homeownership is the embodiment of the American Dream." --Jack Kemp, Former Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 7/1/2002