Date of Conferral

2014

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Public Policy and Administration

Advisor

Dr. Robert Schaefer

Abstract

The subprime mortgage lending practices from 1995 to 2007 were disproportionately concentrated on minority and low income neighborhoods of the United States. Despite the negative effects of subprime loans, these loans are regaining popularity. The purpose of this phenomenological research study was to bridge the gap in knowledge about their effect on African American women by exploring the home buying knowledge and behaviors of African American women between 2004 and 2007 in a southern state. Ajzen and Fishbein's theory of planned behavior served as the theoretical framework of this study, which explored factors that motivated African American women to buy a home, how the type of subprime loan used was identified, their knowledge of subprime loans, their experience of buying a home, and their postpurchase experience of becoming a homeowner. Data were collected through a demographic questionnaire and semistructured interviews with a snowball sample of 20 participants. Data were analyzed using the phenomenological method of thematic coding. Findings indicated that participants believed they were taken advantage of by realtors and loan servicers, were mostly unaware about the type of subprime loan used to purchase their homes, and later found out about the problems with subprime loans after conducting their own research. The implications for positive social change are directed at policymakers to focus attention and resources on understanding and addressing the experiences of African American women by expanding access to prime lending markets, better regulating subprime lending terms more effectively, and empowering African American women to be knowledgeable and vigilant about the drawbacks of subprime mortgages.