This article examines the role played by assisted loans in the access to homeownership and in the residential segregation of low-income households in France. During the 1996–2006 period, no-interest loans affected 1.4 million households and were the main policy tool favoring homeownership. We rely on French housing surveys (INSEE) and administrative records on no-interest loans (SFGFAS) to compare the position of social groups in the housing market before and after the introduction of no-interest loans. We show that, in a context of increasing housing prices, no-interest loans have limited the exclusion of lower- and middle-class households from the new-build housing market, especially outside the Paris region. Nevertheless, households with no-interest loans tend to relocate to peripheral areas characterized not only by a lower proportion of professionals and managers relative to central areas, but also by lower access to public transportation, the childcare system, high schools, and job opportunities. Moreover, in-depth interviews at the individual level suggest that low-income households had no clear perception of the social and physical disconnections they would experience when purchasing their new homes.
- assisted loans