Have the doors opened wider? trends in homeownership rates by race and income
Homeownership among U.S. families increased notably in recent years, from 63.9% in 1989 to 66.2% in 1998. This paper examines this trend and the factors contributing to it. We find that (1) homeownership has risen for all racial, ethnic, and income groups, (2) the differences in homeownership between minority and non-minority families and between middle- income and lower-income families declined significantly, and (3) changes in family-related characteristics explain homeownership trends among only the top two income quintiles. Among the lower two income quintiles, family-related characteristics explain almost none of the increase in homeownership. This pattern of results suggests that changes in mortgage and housing markets and changes in the regulations that govern those markets, such as CRA and HMDA, account for the increase in homeownership among lower-income families.
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