The benefits of owning versus renting a home have been extolled by policy makers for many years, and there is substantial recent research to support those views. Yet the research supporting these claims largely has been conducted on general samples of homeowners. Low- and moderate-income homeowners may have a different experience due to difficulties in keeping up with housing-related payments or a difference in the quality of the homes being purchased. A major objective of this report is to assess the impacts of home ownership on a sample of low- and moderate-income homebuyers.
We also know very little about the experience of lower-income homebuyers after they purchase their homes. To what extent do low-income homebuyers experience unexpected costs associated with maintenance or repairs? What proportion of low-income buyers take out home equity loans and what do they use the funds for? What proportion of low-income homebuyers default on their loans? What do buyers feel are the greatest advantages and challenges to owning a home? Answers to these questions may provide insight into how prospective lower-income homebuyers can be better prepared for home ownership.
The research described in this report involved a sample of persons who graduated from home-ownership classes taught by eight NeighborWorks organizations that participated in the Neighborhood Reinvestment Homeownership Pilot program. Neighborhood Reinvestment has encouraged its affiliated NeighborWorks organizations to offer services designed to increase access to home ownership among low- and moderate-income families. Building on Neighborhood Reinvestment's Campaign for Home Ownership, the Homeownership Pilot program was designed to assist low- and moderate-income households to obtain home ownership by providing them with counseling, down-payment assistance and affordable loans.
This report is the third of three reports on the implementation, outcomes and impacts of the Homeownership Pilot program. The first report, entitled An Assessment of Neighborhood Reinvestment's Homeownership Pilot Program: A Preliminary Report (2000), covered the early implementation of the Pilot. The second report, entitled Supporting the American Dream of Home Ownership: An Assessment of Neighborhood Reinvestment's Homeownership Pilot Program (2002), covers the outcomes of the Homeownership Pilot, including the number of persons counseled and new homebuyers assisted. This final report was designed to:
1. Assess the proportion of customers trained by NeighborWorks organizations who go on to buy homes, as well as the factors that predict who among those graduating from the homeownership training go on to buy homes and who do not.
2. Assess both the social and financial impacts of buying a home on the program participants.
3. Assess the postpurchase experience of low-income homebuyers.
4. Assess the loan repayment experience of a sample of the affordable loans held by Neighborhood Housing Services of America (NHSA).
5. Assess changes in the Pilot program target areas before, during and after the Pilot program was in effect.