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Cityscape: Volume 10 Number 2 | Chapter 5


Homeownership Experience of Low-Income and Minority Households

Volume 10 Number 2

Wealth Accumulation and Homeownership: Evidence for Low-Income Households

Thomas P. Boehm

Alan Schlottmann

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.


A primary motivation for promoting homeownership is the concept that owner-occupied housing can be an important means of wealth accumulation, particularly for those lower income and minority households that are able to purchase homes. With given data issues, however, it is difficult to assess the importance of housing and nonhousing sources of wealth accumulation. Examining this difficulty serves as the purpose of this article. The results of this analysis support public policies aimed at both increasing homeownership opportunities in general and those policies that focus on homeownership for lower income households. Even though homeownership is not a guarantee of successful wealth accumulation, household wealth generally appears to be positively affected by homeownership, a conclusion reinforced with comparisons to accumulation of nonhousing wealth. One troubling observation is that owners often make the transition back to renting and, particularly among low-income minority households, do not regain owner-occupied housing.

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