Home owner ship requires previous wealth accumulation, which is influenced by housing expenditure. Does the provision of public housing at below-market rents allow some households to attain homeownership faster? We test this hypothesis for France by simultaneously estimating a duration model explaining the age of first-time buyers and the probability of their having previously occupied public housing. To instrument this probability, we use the share of public housing available on the local urban rental market. Our estimation sample is taken from the 2006 French Housing Survey. Our results suggest that a spell in public housing decreases age at first-time homeownership.