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An Urban Slice of Apple Pie: Rethinking Homeownership in U.S. Cities

Working paper #669
Georgette Chapman Phillips

This paper poses the salient question: does (or should) the distinctly suburban mindset of homeownership have a place in urban housing policy? To answer that question we must first historically contextualize patterns of urban housing tenure and contrast it to the growing push to suburban homeownership. The next step will entail discussing the recent federal policy initiatives directed specifically at urban homeownership and their effect on housing tenure. The recent boom and bust of the residential housing market had grave implications for urban communities due in large part to the intersection of racial concentration in residential living patterns coupled with extraordinary penetration of subprime mortgages into the minority housing markets. The foreclosure crisis occupies a central focal point of this discussion. The conclusion forces a rethinking of urban housing policy to incorporate not just the goal of individual homeownership but also the stability and economic well-being of the city’s neighborhoods, including those who are not able to join the ranks of homeowner.

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