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New Orleans, La. – UNC Center for Community Capital researchers led a national panel discussion March 17 on research findings that examined whether homeownership continues to serve as a key asset-building tool for low- and moderate-income Americans and the role homeownership policy should play in ensuring sustainable urban development following the housing market downturn.

The New Economic and Social Realities of Urban Homeownership panel comprised four presentations made by center researchers at the Urban Affairs Association Conference in New Orleans.

The panel considered the costs and benefits that lower-income households incur when they become homeowners in traditionally disadvantaged urban communities. Once touted as a key asset-building strategy to reduce urban poverty, recent changes in the U.S. housing market and more sophisticated research methods have called into question whether homeownership delivers on this promise. Evidence suggests that policies aimed at promoting homeownership must be carefully evaluated regarding their role in urban revitalization efforts, particularly in light of increases in negative equity and foreclosures.

The session included papers which considered both economic and non-economic costs and benefits associated with homeownership while focusing on poor and minority urban households. Panelists also discussed the role that policies to facilitate homeownership should play in sustainable urban development following the housing market downturn.

Center research director Mark Lindblad and research associate Kim Manturuk presented “Crime & Disorder in the Neighborhood: Collective Efficacy Mediates Homeownership.” Manturuk also presented “Homeownership and Mental Health: Mediating Effects of Perceived Sense of Control and Community Trust.” Senior research economist Sarah F. Riley and graduate research assistant HongYu Ru presented “The User Cost of Low-Income Homeownership.” Research fellow Michal Grinstein-Weiss and her colleagues Clint Key, Shenyang Guo andYeong Yeo presented “The Effect of Homeownership on Wealth in Low-Income Households.”

View the presentations.

Homeownership is a key area of focus for the UNC Center for Community Capital, the leading center for research and policy analysis on the transformative power of capital on households and communities in the United States. Part of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the center offers data and analysis that helps policymakers, advocates and the private sector find sustainable ways to expand economic opportunity to more people more effectively. For more information, visit or call (919) 843-2140.

Topics(s): Affordable Homeownership, Financial Inclusion, Impacts of Homeownership, Savings & Asset-Building
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