Diversity Seen as Key to Revive Homeownership

After two quarters of improvement, the national homeownership rate stayed at 63.6 percent in the first quarter—statistically the same level as the last quarter of 2016.  The Homeownership  Preservation Foundation has a formula for reviving the recovery: Continue to give hope to diverse homeowners.

“By helping more diverse consumers become financially stable with financial coaching, from rural areas to small towns to suburbs to major cities, the housing finance and real estate market will continue to recover,” said David Berenbaum, HPF’s Chief Executive Officer, upon release today of HPF’s Community Report 2016.

How diverse consumers become financially stable when considering a mortgage is illustrated in a Path to Sustainable Homeownership, also released today, modeled after The Game of Life board game. It shows how HPF helps at-risk homeowners of any age or situation manage real life. When life happens, you can roll a die to get past trouble paying your mortgage, or call an HPF coach now.

Financial coaching of diverse HPF clients trying to stay current with a trial mortgage modification, an HPF specialty, has resulted in a 20-25% greater probability of clients sustaining their modified mortgages twelve months later. Since this post mortgage-modification coaching program began at HPF in 2009, 65% of clients improved their monthly budget by an average $289 in available cash. Nearly three-quarters of clients improved their credit score an average 25 points.

“We’ve learned a great deal about the evolving needs of mortgage borrowers through 10 years of national (888) 995-HOPE (4673) Hotline foreclosure-prevention counseling. But, in spite of an improving economy during the last four years, the need for housing counseling via the HOPE Hotline continues to grow,” Berenbaum said.

Since year-end 2016, HPF has seen a 12% rise in clients calling the HOPE Hotline who are 90+ days delinquent on a mortgage payment. This corresponded with a seven percent rise in clients with annual household income of less than $35,000. HPF plans to target these mortgage borrowers largely in rural markets through 2017.

“The country faces significant work to restore the value proposition for the American Dream of homeownership since the financial crisis,” Berenbaum said. “With access to HPF’s foreclosure prevention counseling, and post mortgage-modification or pre-purchase financial coaching programs, more diverse consumers will access mortgage credit and become successful homeowners.”

Based in Minneapolis with offices in Washington, D.C., HPF was created during the foreclosure crisis to help families recover from mortgage modifications.  Itis an independent, national nonprofit dedicated to guiding consumers onto the path of sustainable homeownership and improving their overall financial health.


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