Homeownership in the 1980s and 1990s: Aggregate Trends and Racial Gaps
Housing policy under the Clinton and Bush Administrations has sought to boost homeownership while also narrowing racial gaps in owner-occupancy rates. Against that backdrop, homeownership rose sharply in the 1990s, but white-minority gaps remain in excess of 25 percentage points. We analyze these patterns using data from the 1983 to 2001 Survey of Consumer Finances. Results indicate that household characteristics explain most of the increase in homeownership and roughly two-thirds of the white-minority homeownership gap. Credit barriers account for no more than 5 percentage points of the remaining gap. This suggests that policy makers will need to look beyond innovations in mortgage finance if their goal is to further expand homeownership.
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