Working Papers

Accessibility Features for Older Households in Subsidized Housing

Authors: Whitney Airgood-Obrycki, Jennifer Molinsky | January 14, 2020

In the last ten years alone, the share of older adults in HUD-subsidized housing has risen five percentage points, and older adult households now make up over a third of all subsidized renters. In this paper, we examine whether the subsidized housing stock is suitable for aging in place. We ask: What physical challenges do older subsidized renters face? What difficulties do they experience with their housing environment? And, are subsidized units more equipped with accessibility features than units without rent assistance? ...

Treasury’s Long GSE Capital To-Do List: Clearing the Decks for Investors

Author: Don Layton | December 19, 2019

As 2019 ends, the two Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae finally have some momentum in ending their conservatorships, the legal status under which they have operated essentially as wards of the US Government for over eleven years now. For the exit from conservatorship to take place administratively, the big agenda item still to be addressed is capital – in the broadest context, covering a lengthy list of topics....

A Case Study of GSE Politicization: The Flawed Narrative of Loose Credit

Author: Don Layton | December 12, 2019

A significant feature of America’s residential mortgage system is its heavy politicization. This case study is about one long-running, specific aspect of that politicization: the advocacy-based narratives about the credit quality of the mortgages financed by the two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae....

Homeownership Experiences Following Criminal Justice Contact

Author: Brielle Bryan | December 09, 2019

Recent work has highlighted the significance of incarceration for wealth accrual and black-white gaps in homeownership, but the monetary sanctions and disruptions to employment that often accompany even low-level criminal justice contact may also have important consequences for individual homeownership and racial disparities in homeownership. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, this paper considers the potential of a broad variety of criminal justice system interactions to shape homeownership experiences among young adults. ...

Mortgage Journeys: A Video Ethnography of the Homebuying and Mortgage Process

Authors: Anna Jefferson, Hannah Thomas | November 26, 2019

Prior research suggests that comparison shopping for mortgages when purchasing a home helps secure a lower interest rate. Yet we have only limited data about the mortgage shopping behaviors of lower- and moderate-income (LMI) homebuyers and how those behaviors may influence mortgage outcomes. This paper presents new ethnographic data about how LMI first-time homebuyers access information and how that information shapes their mortgage shopping in three phases of the homebuying process....

Exit from Homeownership by Low-Income Households

Author: Jeffrey Zabel | November 12, 2019

One of the justifications for federal involvement in the homeownership market is that it provides one of the few ways that low-income households can accumulate wealth. But this did not happen over the past couple of decades. This paper explores one explanation for this outcome, the relatively high likelihood of a change in tenure from owning to renting that was brought upon by the recent downturn in the housing market the precipitated the Great Recession. ...

Institutions and Geographic Concentration in VA Mortgage Lending

Authors: Kerry Spitzer, Lauren Lambie-Hanson | November 06, 2019

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) home loan guaranty program lowers the cost of homeownership for veterans and their families by removing the barriers of a down payment and private mortgage insurance. Even with the recent growth in the program and the attractive terms, many veteran homeowners have not used it. As a consequence, some areas of the country with large numbers of veterans have disproportionately few VA loan originations, even after controlling for area housing market conditions. ...

Building Wealth through Homeownership: A Comparative Study of MHP’s ONE Mortgage Program and FHA

Authors: Jake Interrante, Elliot Schmiedl | October 30, 2019

This paper compares actual wealth building outcomes in the Massachusetts Housing Partnership’s (MHP) subsidized ONE Mortgage Program to hypothetical outcomes for a borrower who received a comparable Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured mortgage with the same loan amount....