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The suburbanization of poverty: Homeownership policies and spatial inequalities in France

Collection : Documents de travail

250, 2019, 47 pages

This article examines the role of assisted loans in accessing homeownership and in the residential segregation of low-income households in France. During the 1996-2006 period, no-interest loans (NILs) affected 1.4 million households and were the main policy tool that favored  homeownership. We rely on French housing surveys and the administrative records on NILs to compare the position of social groups in the housing market before and after implementing NILs. We show that in a context of increasing housing prices, NILs have limited the exclusion of lower- and middle-class households from the new-build housing market outside the Paris region. Nevertheless, households with NILs tend to relocate to peripheral areas that are characterized not only by a lower proportion of professionals and managers than central areas, but also by lower access to public services and collective amenities. Moreover, in-depth interviews suggest that low-income households had no clear perception of the social and physical disconnections they would experience when they purchased their new homes.

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