The Distribution of Homeownership Gains during the 1990s across Neighborhoods
During the 1990s, homeownership rates increased for virtually all racial and ethnic groups, income groups, regions, and rural and urban areas. However, little is known about how the broad homeownership gains of the 1990s were distributed across neighborhoods. For a variety of reasons the distribution of homeownership gains during the 1990s is of interest. First, since homeownership is thought to benefit neighborhoods as well as individuals, it is of interest to know to what extent efforts to encourage homeownership have benefited some types of neighborhoods while disfavoring others. Second, policy makers have focused attention on increasing homeownership opportunities for minorities so they can share in the benefits of homeownership. Since some of the benefits of homeownership are associated with gaining access to high quality public services and amenities, it would be of interest to examine the socioeconomic status of the neighborhoods where minority homeownership gains have been concentrated. Third, to the extent that greater racial and ethnic integration is viewed as an important goal both as an indication of greater access by minorities to all residential areas and as a means of fostering greater understanding across racial and ethnic groups, it is also of interest to examine the extent to which gains in minority homeownership have furthered or hindered the goal of greater racial and ethnic integration. Finally, in the early 1990s, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) introduced housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the government sponsored enterprises or GSEs) that included a goal of increasing access to mortgage credit in “underserved areas,” defined as areas either with incomes no more than 90 percent of market-area median family income or where minorities comprise at least 30 percent of the population and area median family income does not exceed 120 percent of market-area median income. Given this housing goal, it would be of interest to examine trends in homeownership rates in these underserved areas.
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