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Press Release

Home loan outcomes in Hamilton County vary by race and income, according to Cleveland Fed researcher’s analysis of HMDA data

Using Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data to examine trends in mortgage lending in Hamilton County, Ohio – home to Cincinnati -- during a 27 year period beginning in 1990, Lisa Nelson, a community development advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and Ellenore Holbrook, an intern at the Bank, find that:

  • Prior to the Great Recession, application rates for home mortgages were much higher in Hamilton County’s low- and moderate-income (LMI) neighborhoods than in its non-LMI neighborhoods. As the recession took hold, application rates for home mortgages declined considerably across all neighborhood income groups, but the decline was more dramatic in low-income neighborhoods. Mortgage loan application rates in Hamilton County’s LMI neighborhoods increased in both 2012 and 2013, but remain considerably lower than their prerecession rates.
  • During the 13-year period from 2004 through 2016, mortgage loan origination rates for all Hamilton County neighborhoods reached their low point in 2007, during the height of the Great Recession. Origination rates reached their highest point in 2016 for low-income neighborhoods and in 2015 for all other neighborhood types.
  • Since the Great Recession, homeowners living in high-income neighborhoods have been the most able to take advantage of low interest rates to refinance their homes. In 2011, 57 percent of all refinance originations in Hamilton County occurred in high-income neighborhoods; by 2013, the share fell to 47 percent, still higher than the prerecession average of 30 percent.
  • In every year examined, white low- and moderate-income borrowers are proportionally more likely to get a home purchase loan than black LMI borrowers. In 2005, there were 70 home purchase loans by white LMI borrowers for every 1,000 white LMI households, compared to just 32 home purchase loans by black LMI borrowers for every 1,000 black LMI households. “While the home purchase loan rates declined for both races from 2005 to 2010, the declines were significantly higher for black LMI borrowers than for white LMI borrowers: 60 percent compared to 42 percent, respectively,” note Nelson and Holbrook.

Read Home Lending in Hamilton County Neighborhoods.

Examine trends in mortgage lending for other counties within our region: Kentucky’s Fayette County, Ohio’s Cuyahoga and Montgomery Counties, and Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County.

Use the Home Mortgage Explorer, a tool developed by the Cleveland and Philadelphia Feds, to examine trends in mortgage lending for other US metro areas. (See related infographic).

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that along with the Board of Governors in Washington DC comprise the Federal Reserve System. Part of the US central bank, the Cleveland Fed participates in the formulation of our nation’s monetary policy, supervises banking organizations, provides payment and other services to financial institutions and to the US Treasury, and performs many activities that support Federal Reserve operations System-wide. In addition, the Bank supports the well-being of communities across the Fourth Federal Reserve District through a wide array of research, outreach, and educational activities.

The Cleveland Fed, with branches in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, serves an area that comprises Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Media contact

Doug Campbell,, 513.455.4479