Working Papers

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....

The Potential for Shared Equity and Other Forms of Down Payment Assistance to Expand Access to Homeownership

Authors: Kristin Perkins, Shannon Rieger, Jonathan Spader, Christopher Herbert | October 21, 2019

Previous studies of the financial constraints for homeownership attainment have found that cash grants to cover down payment and closing costs can fairly substantially increase the share of renters who can afford to buy a home. Shared equity homeownership is an alternative to traditional homeownership and renting that provides a substantial upfront reduction in the purchase price of the home, which reduces the cost of homeownership....

After a Decade of Debate about the Right GSE Reform Model, We’re Down to Two Choices

Author: Don Layton | October 15, 2019

The housing finance policy community had thrown around all sorts of ideas about how to move forward after the two GSEs were placed in conservatorship in the 2008 Financial Crisis. In the early years of conservatorship, while many of these ideas were being developed and discussed, all of them looked to replace the two GSEs....

Tenure and Location Choice among Hispanic Households

Author: Rocio Sanchez-Moyano | October 10, 2019

Persistently large gaps in homeownership between whites and Hispanics are a major contributor to wealth inequality. This article considers whether Hispanics and whites are becoming homeowners in different types of neighborhoods, introducing an understudied potential driver of homeownership and wealth inequality. ...