Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Community Advantage Program Study (CAPS)?
The Community Advantage Program Study, launched in 1999, examines data collected since 2003 from homeowners who receive mortgages through the Community Advantage Program (CAP), a path-breaking mortgage initiative of Self-Help, the Ford Foundation, and Fannie Mae that has funded more than $4 billion of home loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers.
Who are the borrowers in the Community Advantage Program?
The Community Advantage Program (CAP) portfolio focuses broadly on low- and moderate-income and minority homebuyers. The public use data pull from a sample of these borrowers; demographic and financial summary statistics may be found in Quercia & Riley’s 2017 paper, “The Community Advantage Panel Survey: Announcing a Version for Public Use.”
What is unique about the data?
These data profile low- and moderate-income and minority borrowers, a population that is often understudied due to a lack of data. The survey data includes not only data on financial health and mortgage borrowing, but also respondent experiences with family formation, physical and mental health, connections to neighborhood and community, and more. And although 70 percent of CAP borrowers are located in the South, CAP loans were made in more than 40 states, making it a nationwide program. Furthermore, the data were collected during a period of housing market volatility, which makes the data particularly rich for researchers seeking to understand how borrowers weather periods of economic uncertainty.
What types of research questions have been examined using CAPS data?

The Center for Community Capital has been examining these data for over ten years to study both the housing market broadly and mortgage lending specifically. We have published two books to date, including Regaining the Dream (2011), a book that examines the housing market during the Great Recession, and A Place Called Home (2017), which examines the nonfinancial benefits of homeownership.

Data Access

When are the data going to be available?
We anticipate a launch in Spring 2018. We will be providing periodic updates on our website, so please continue to check this page for details.
What is the structure of the data?
In general, there are two datasets per year of the survey: one for each sample (owners and renters). These datasets reflect surveys that were conducted via telephone and in person along with publicly available matched data. More information may be found in our 2017 paper.
Are there codebooks and questionnaires?
Of course! We will be posting those shortly through the Carolina Digital Repository.
How can I get access to the data?
There are two ways to obtain CAPS data. Tier 1 Data, available to the general public, will be accessible via the Carolina Digital Repository. Tier 2 Data will be available to researchers via a collaborative data sharing protocol. This data will include additional information, including matched data down to the block group level, created variables (e.g. net worth), administrative origination and performance data for the CAP portfolio, survey weights to generalize the owners survey to larger subset of the portfolio, and more.
How can I access the restricted (Tier 2) data?
To access the more detailed, restricted data, we ask that you initiate a more formal relationship with our Center by submitting a letter of interest concerning your research project through our website (we will post this form when we release the data). After we review your letter, we will be in touch with next steps.
What if I don’t have a budget for my research project?
We understand! We want our data to be shared broadly with researchers, and are willing to provide guidance to researchers submitting grant proposals. If this applies to you, please describe your interest in obtaining grant funding to support your project in your letter of interest.