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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 percent in 1989 to 66.2 percent in 1998. This article examines this trend and the factors contributing to it. We find that (1) homeownership rose for all racial, ethnic, and income groups; (2) the differences in homeownership between minority and nonminority 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 suggests that the favorable economic climate of the last decade, changes in mortgage and housing markets, and changes in the regulations governing those markets account for the increase in homeownership among lower-income families.

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Bostic, R.W., Surette, B.J. Have the Doors Opened Wider? Trends in Homeownership Rates by Race and Income. The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics 23, 411–434 (2001).

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  • homeownership
  • race
  • income
  • Community Reinvestment Act
  • credit scoring