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Working Papers

Does Credit Quality Matter for Homeownership?

Working paper #410
Irina Barakova, Raphael Bostic, Paul S. Calem and Susan M. Wachter

It has been long recognized that there are a number of barriers that limit access to homeownership for some households, most importantly, downpayment constraints. This paper extends the literature to test for the role of credit quality in limiting access to homeownership. Results show that both wealth and credit quality based constraints significantly reduce the likelihood of whether individuals and households opt to own a home. The wealth constraint has the largest impact, although its importance declined substantially during the 1990s due to the increased availability of low-downpayment mortgages. In contrast to the declining influence of wealth-based constraints, credit quality based constraints have become more important barriers to homeownership during the 1990s, mostly reflecting an increase in the number of households with impaired credit quality.

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