Wealth Creation Policy Brief
Mortgage Finance, Affordable Homeownership, Impacts of Homeownership, Asset-Building & Savings
Policy Brief | June 2014

Low‐ and Moderate‐income Homeownership and Wealth Creation

Allison Freeman, Roberto G. Quercia
Research funded by Ford Foundation

Center researchers examine changes in wealth among low- and moderate-income homeowners and renters from 2005-2012 and find clear evidence that, despite losses experienced by the homeowners during the crisis, they fared significantly better than renters.

Adjust font size


The foreclosure crisis decimated American wealth, particularly housing wealth. From 2006 to 2011, home equity held by U.S. households fell by $7 trillion – an average of $61,277 for every homeowner household.

The losses hit low- and moderate-income (LMI) households particularly hard, since their wealth is disproportionately concentrated in their homes. That has reenergized the debate over whether homeownership remains a reliable wealth-building mechanism for LMI families.

In “Low- and Moderate-income Homeownership and Wealth Creation,” center researchers Allison Freeman and Roberto G. Quercia examine changes in wealth among 46,000 LMI homeowners and a comparable group of renters from 2005 to 2012. They find clear evidence that, despite the losses experienced by LMI homeowners during the crisis, homeowners fared significantly better than renters.

Researchers conclude that homeownership remains an effective wealth-building tool, providing homeowners with financial benefits not available to renters.



Related Projects

The UNC Center for Community Capital conducts research and policy analysis on ways to make financial services work better for more people and communities.


© 2017 UNC Center for Community Capital
1700 Martin Luther King Blvd., Suite 129 • CB#3452, Chapel Hill NC 27599-3452 • 919.843.2140 • 877.783.2359 • communitycapital@unc.edu