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Cityscape: Volume 10 Number 2 | Chapter 2


Homeownership Experience of Low-Income and Minority Households

Volume 10 Number 2

Initial Housing Choices Made by Low-Income and Minority Homebuyers

Christopher E. Herbert

Eric S. Belsky

This article reflects the views of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


This article presents information on the initial housing choices that low-income and minority first-time homebuyers made. These characteristics are of interest because they influence the extent to which the longrun financial and social benefits of homeownership are realized. Of particular interest are the millions of low-income and minority households that bought their first home during the homeownership boom that began in the early 1990s. Much of the information presented in this article is derived from tabulations from the American Housing Surveys (AHSs) from 1991 through 2003, with some information on housing costs and mortgage choices updated from the 2005 AHS. The AHS, a national survey conducted in every odd-numbered year, is a rich source of information on characteristics of the U.S. housing stock and is one of the few sources of information on first-time homebuyers.

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