Shared Equity Research

Shared Equity Homeownership is an innovative homeownership model that nonprofit housing associations or municipalities offer, making homes more affordable for first-time buyers, buyers with bad loan or credit history, or buyers lacking the necessary down payment or income to afford a market-rate home. Shared equity programs provide homebuyers with a way of bridging the gap between what they are able to afford to pay in a mortgage and the actual mortgage cost to own a property. Shared equity is a broad designation that includes inclusionary zoning, limited equity cooperatives, and community land trust homes with long-term affordability restrictions.

The Urban Institute has been at the forefront in shared equity research, evaluating the effects of programs on homebuyers' financial and personal well-being. Our reports to inform policymakers in the field of housing finance. 

Impact and Implementation Evaluation of Shared Equity Homeownership Programs

The Urban Institute is leading the field by conducting the first impact evaluation of the effects of shared equity on homebuyers. This study will estimate program impacts—the changes observed for shared equity homebuyers that can be attributed to shared equity homeownership—and will assess whether buyers purchasing shared equity homes are able to accumulate more wealth and earn a higher rate of return than they would without buying a shared equity home.

The study is evaluating eight shared equity programs across the country that are a part of the Cornerstone Homeownership Innovation Program. The baseline report  “Homeownership for a New Era: Baseline Report on the Cornerstone Homeownership Innovation Program” was released in April 2015. This report describes the programs’ homeownership models, information on program applicants, strategies used to recruit homebuyers, and implications for policy and practice. The outcomes report will be released in 2017.

Performance Evaluation of the Household Benefits of Shared Equity Homeownership

The Urban Institute's 2010 evaluation of seven shared equity homeownership programs across the country found that shared equity programs are successful in creating homeownership opportunities for lower-income families that allow purchasers to accumulate assets while creating a stock of affordable housing that remains within reach of subsequent lower-income homebuyers. Moreover, homeownership among shared equity programs is sustainable, and shared equity homeowners resell their homes with the same frequency and for the same reasons as other homeowners.

The following publications include reports and site-by-site case studies that present outcomes for the seven evaluated shared equity programs using client-level data to look at affordability preservation, wealth creation, security of tenure, and mobility.


Balancing Affordability and Opportunity: Homeownership Programs with Long-Term Affordability Controls

Project Researchers

Brett Theodos, senior research associate
Dina Emam, research associate
Rob Pitingolo, research associate