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Home ownership doesn’t add up for everyone

Realtors, mortgage brokers benefit most from federal housing programs, study argues

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As it turns out, the American dream of owning a home is not the best option for everyone, according to a study released by the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Some low-income families may even be worse off from a home purchase, losing a substantial amount of money in the process. Even with subsidies from government programs like the American Dream Act, many low-income families would be better off renting, writes Dean Baker, co-director of the Center and author of the report, "Who's Dreaming? Homeownership Among Low Income Families." "Government programs that push low-income families into home ownership are likely to benefit Realtors, mortgage brokers and other intermediaries, rather than the families who are the targets of this aid," Baker writes. It is important to recognize prospective home buyers' individual situations, as well as the state of the housing market when deciding whether home ownership would be more beneficial than renting, Baker cautions. Factors like tax be...