THDA Issue Brief Series

THDA issue briefs are a series of short and informative research reports developed by the THDA Research and Planning Division. Covering a wide range of topics, these briefs provide an unbiased analysis of timely housing and housing affordability issues impacting the State of Tennessee and beyond.

  • Mortgage Costs by Race / Ethnicity in Tennessee: Analysis from 2018-2021 HMDA Data [May 2023] This brief utilizes HMDA data from 2018 to 2021 to better understand how the costs of mortgages as measured by interest rates, rate spread, high-priced mortgages, and total loan costs have changed over this period and how they vary for borrowers of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. We find that almost all borrowers benefitted from declining costs over this period. However, Black, Hispanic, and low to moderate income (LMI) borrowers continued to rely heavily on non-conventional mortgages. Furthermore, they experienced higher relative costs in comparison to other groups for the mortgages they did acquire. As a result, they often paid higher overall and higher relative costs by loan amounts compared to their counterparts.
  • Refinance Loan Trends in Tennessee: Analysis from 2018-2021 HMDA Data [April 2023] This brief utilizes HMDA data from 2018 to 2021 to better understand how refinance loans were utilized by Tennesseans before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the benefits of refinancing one’s mortgage, we find that, in Tennessee, refinance loan originations were significantly lower for Black and low or moderate income (LMI) homeowners than their counterparts. We also find that denial rates alone are not a sufficient explanation of the racial disparities in refinance loan originations.
  • Actions to Overcome Impediments to Fair Housing for Tennessee Renters [March 2021] Adverse phenomena experienced across Tennessee’s rental markets disproportionately impact individuals and households on the basis of membership in a protected class. The state of Tennessee has long been a leader in developing innovative approaches to rental housing. This brief – the fifth in a series of six examining fair housing issues in Tennessee – describes THDA’s continuing actions to expand fair housing choice in rental housing through careful deployment if its resources.
  • Fair Housing Impacts of Utility Costs and Broadband Access in Tennessee [February 2021] Though not immediately anticipated as a fair housing concern, equitable and affordable access to utilities and broadband can be important factors in housing stability for vulnerable populations. Utilities can have a great impact on housing affordability and health, while broadband is becoming increasingly important as jobs, schooling, and even medical care moves online. This brief – the fourth in a series of six examining fair housing issues in Tennessee – describes impediments to these essential services at both the household and community level and considers current initiatives by the State of Tennessee to overcome these barriers.
  • Disparities in Housing Opportunity for those with Disability [February 2021] Disability is the most common basis for Fair Housing Complaints. More than 15 percent of adult Tennesseans live with some kind of physical, cognitive or other type of disability. THDA is taking action to eliminate impediments to housing choice encountered by Tennesseans with disabilities. This brief – the third in a series of six examining fair housing issues in Tennessee – describes some of the impediments which limit housing choice for Tennesseans with a disability. The brief also describes THDA’s ongoing efforts to eliminate these barriers and increase the supply of housing that is accessible and affordable.
  • Racial Disparities in Home Mortgage Originations in Tennessee [January 2021] THDA is taking action to eliminate racial disparities in home loan approval rates in Tennessee. Data show that Black Tennesseans face much greater loan denial rates than their White counterparts. This brief – the second in a series of six examining fair housing issues in Tennessee – quantifies the scale of this unequal access to credit. The brief also describes THDA’s ongoing efforts to close the racial gap in homeownership and loan denial rates.
  • Fair Housing Perspectives [January 2021] The purpose of this brief is to present a summary of the State’s AI research and Fair Housing Plan and to serve as an introduction to other briefs in a series examining fair housing issues in Tennessee. There will be six briefs in total; view the report for more on disability access, racial disparities, and findings from a THDA survey of Tennesseans.
  • Rural Rental Housing Issues: What the Data Tell Us [August 2019] This report seeks to better illuminate housing issues faced by rural Tennessee’s communities, particularly among renter households. Rural and urban Tennessee, when compared as two overall regions, have surprisingly similar data on rental affordability and availability. However, while there is value in comparing rural Tennessee as a whole to its urban counterparts, variation within rural Tennessee far outweighs the variation between rural and urban. There is no singular, monolithic set of housing needs shared by rural Tennessee counties.
  • Housing Indicators: Comparing Tennessee's Cities [June 2019] This report examines housing indicators within the second population tier of Tennessee's large cities. Among these five, Murfreesboro and Franklin appear consistently as high-growth, high-demand and high-income cities, distinct from the others in these categories. Johnson City is "renter friendly" with the lowest levels of rental cost burden, due to its relative balance of household incomes and rents. Clarksville and Jackson each have population increasing in tandem with housing unit increases.
  • Housing Indicators: Comparing Tennessee's Cities [May 2019] This report compares the housing markets of Tennessee's four largest cities. Nashville appears consistently as a high-growth, high-demand and high-income city, pulling away from the other three cities in these categories. Chattanooga stands out as having the lowest levels of housing cost burden, due to its relative balance of household incomes, property values, and rents. Knoxville and Memphis stand out as having the most affordable housing opportunities, particularly in the homeownership context.
  • Housing Supply: A Tennessee Snapshot [May 2019] Tennessee and its metro areas have avoided the most severe housing supply constraints seen elsewhere in the U.S., but are still facing challenges. This issue brief outlines these challenges and offers policy considerations for Tennessee’s communities.
  • Opioid Recovery & Affordable Housing [February 2019] As the opioid epidemic continues in Tennessee, this issue brief considers the role of housing. Securing a stable living environment free from addictive substances can be a serious obstacle to continued abstinence. As such, housing is a critical aspect of recovery, supporting re-entry into the community after completing substance abuse treatment. There are different recovery housing models; this issue brief outlines the scope of the opioid epidemic, efforts to combat this issue within Tennessee, and possible long-term housing solutions.
  • The CHNA Process & The Role of Housing Providers [May 2018] The Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) is completed by not-for-profit hospitals every three years as a requirement for maintaining tax-exempt status. This brief seeks to highlight the Community Health Needs Assessments as a tool that can be used by housing and health professionals to address the policy intersections between the two. The results of this review suggest that housing organizations, especially those who serve low-income and minority populations, have an opportunity to benefit the CHNA process as key community stakeholders.