Marcia's Blog

3 signs we are killing the dream of homeownership

While everyone deserves a fair shot at success, the scale is not so balanced when it comes to homeownership.

A recent study by Zillow and the National Urban League found that:

  • Blacks and Latinos make up 12 percent and 17 percent of the U.S. population, respectively, yet only account for 3 percent and 5 percent of conventional mortgage applications.
  • One in four Blacks are denied a conventional mortgage loan application, compared to one in 10 Whites who are denied.
  • Approximately 73.9 percent of White Americans own a home, compared to 60.9 percent of Asians, 50.9 percent of Latinos and 46.5 percent of Blacks who are homeowners.

What these statistics tell us is that homeownership is not a realistic option for all. In fact, for some groups, homeownership has become more of a fantasy than a dream. By turning a blind eye to these statistics, we’re effectively closing the door to financial success to key portions of our society.
But we CAN and MUST turn things around.

We must do better outreach. If fewer Blacks and Latinos are applying for mortgages, it’s safe to say that fewer Blacks and Latinos believe that homeownership is even possible. That means, the industry is not doing a good enough job spreading the word about closing cost and down payment assistance programs and other opportunities that make homeownership accessible. We must get into the communities and show people that they can succeed as homeowners and give them the financial education and the tools to do so

We must regain the community’s trust. The housing crisis took a toll on the trust consumers have in the mortgage industry. Many people believe that financial institutions are just out to make money and don’t care about the welfare of their customers.  In fact, a study found that the financial services industry is the least trusted industry around the world. We must show the community that we have their best interests in mind by making sure they are prepared for the financial responsibilities that come with homeownership and are given the support and guidance that they need to go through the process.

We must provide more options for education. Financial education is a key part of preparing people for homeownership. Consumers must have access to counseling, classes and workshops no matter what their schedules are. That means giving them options for face-to-face, telephone and Internet classes and counseling sessions, and making sure they know these opportunities exist.

Numbers don’t lie. Homeownership is no longer a viable option for everybody. Do we keep going down this road of exclusion or do we choose the path of equal access to homeownership for all?  HomeFree-USA is choosing the latter. I hope you join us.