The sustainability of low-income homeownership: the incidence of unexpected costs and needed repairs among low-income home buyers Academic Article uri icon


  • Until the recent housing market crisis, the United States was producing first-time, low-income homeowners at an unprecedented rate. In a longitudinal study of lowincome renters participating in a multi-site homeownership education program, we examine the ability of low-income homebuyers to pay housing related costs after home purchase, including maintenance or repairs costs. After less than two years of ownership, we find the sustainability of low-income homeownership in jeopardy for sizeable portion of home buyers. About half of the more than 350 new home owners surveyed face unexpected costs, and about a third confront home repairs they cannot afford. More than half carry greater nonhousing debt, and about a quarter were 30 days late or more in debt repayment. The findings raise concerns about the long term sustainability of low-income homeownership and emphasize the importance of requiring effective pre-purchase services and effective and ongoing post-purchase counseling. 2011 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 118

author list (cited authors)

  • Van Zandt, S., & Rohe, W. M.

citation count

  • 28

complete list of authors

  • Van Zandt, Shannon||Rohe, William M

publication date

  • January 2011