A Case Comparison Project: Exploring the Home Purchasing Process as an Asset-building Strategy in East Los Angeles

Research has found that the amount of years a household owns their home is the most significant driver of the widening wealth gap amongst White and Black families in the United States (Shapiro, Meshede, & Osoro, 2013). The pronounced gap in homeownership rates between immigrant and native-born populations guides the interest of this project. This project adds to the existing body of literature regarding asset-building in immigrant, low-to-moderate income households. The specific question that this project seeks to answer is, what are some determinants that influence homeownership in the immigrant population? East Los Angeles was purposefully chosen as the study site based on the demographic characteristics of the community. The interviews held with the participants over the course of several months allowed for the exploration of details that may hinder or facilitate the home buying process. The themes of life-course transitions as motivators, immigration status, financial security, as well as neighborhood factors were formulated from the narratives.