29 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2009
Date Written: March 19, 2009
Rapidly changing credit and housing market conditions of the past fifteen years have markedly impacted home ownership rates. Home ownership rates in the United States have increased steadily and significantly from 1995 to 2004, from 64 percent to 69 percent. No additional increase in home ownership, in the aggregate, occurred with the expansion of non prime lending after 2004. By year-end 2008, the overall U.S. home ownership rate had fallen to a level below that of 2002. As delinquencies and foreclosures mount, putting the nation's homeowners and the economy at risk, home ownership rates continue to decline.
We review the evidence pertaining to home ownership rates, explore the possible role of financial institutions in increasing home ownership in sustainable and unsustainable ways, and address the role of regulation. We review evidence suggesting how flexible lending initiatives have expanded access to home ownership. We also examine the role of non prime lending and the consequences of housing market price instability for home ownership. Fluctuations in the availability of credit for home ownership, and the global credit market collapse raise questions that we cannot answer here about the mistakes that have contributed to the current housing crisis. Nonetheless, evidence on market outcomes allows us at least to raise such questions, and explore the role of regulation in supporting responsible mortgage lending that encourages sustainable home ownership.
Keywords: Homeownership, Mortgage Lending, Subprime Lending
JEL Classification: G21, G28
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation