An important part of the mission of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is to provide affordable mortgages that both promote the transition from renting to owning and create “sustainable” homeownership. The FHA has never defined what it means by sustainability. However, we developed a scorecard in 2018 that tracks the long-term outcomes of FHA first-time buyers (FTBs) and update it again in this post. The data show that from 2011 to 2016 roughly
21.8 percent of FHA FTBs failed to sustain their homeownership.
In this post we take up the important question of the sustainability of homeownership for first-time buyers. The evaluation of public policies aimed at promoting the transition of individuals from renting to owning should depend not only on the degree to which such policies increase the number of first-time buyers, but also importantly on whether these new buyers are able to sustain their homeownership. If a buyer is unprepared to manage the financial responsibilities of owning a home and consequently must return to renting, then the household may have made little to no progress in wealth accumulation. Despite the importance of sustainability, to date there have been no efforts at measuring the sustainability of first-time homeownership. We provide an example of a first-time home buyer sustainability scorecard.
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) played a significant role in maintaining mortgage credit availability following the onset of the subprime mortgage crisis and through the Great Recession.
W. Scott Frame, Kristopher Gerardi, and Joseph Tracy Editors’ note: The column headings in the final table in this post have been corrected from an earlier version. Homeownership has long been a U.S. public policy goal. One of the many ways that the federal government subsidizes homeownership is through mortgage insurance programs operated by the […]