Publication Date

October 2017

Author(s)

Kim Manturuk, Mark R. Lindblad, Roberto G. Quercia

Client/Funder

Ford Foundation

A Place Called Home argues that homeownership is not only important for financial reasons, but also functions as a social tool that can improve the lives of low- and moderate-income people.

Since the onset of the mortgage lending crisis and the subsequent Great Recession, there has been ongoing debate about the economic benefits of homeownership. Some say homeownership remains an important contributor to wealth creation, while others believe that renting is a less expensive and less risky option. This debate has raised an interesting question about homeownership: if the home is not guaranteed to provide a solid return on investment, is there a rationale for promoting homeownership beyond whatever financial benefits it may deliver?

A Place Called Home is the first book fully dedicated to a rich, rigorous analysis of the social impacts and non-financial effects of affordable homeownership. The dataset comes from a long-term examination of the Ford Foundation-funded Community Advantage Program, an initiative to provide a secondary market outlet for Community Reinvestment Act loans; on an annual basis, the study collected unique household-level information that allowed the authors to measure the social dimensions of homeownership on low-income families. A result was the observation that homeowners, when compared with renters, have better health outcomes, experience less stress in times of financial hardship, experience a greater sense of trust in their neighbors, have access to more social capital resources, and are more likely to vote. Indeed, A Place Called Home argues that homeownership is not only important for financial reasons, but also functions as a social tool that can improve the lives of low- and moderate-income people.