A Call to Action by Georgia ACT

Last month Fannie Mae announced its new affordable mortgage product, HomeReadyTM, which replaces MyCommunityMortgage. Targeted to low- and moderate-income borrowers, it requires an online homebuyer education course. Called Framework, the course will be provided by Housing Partnership Network and the Minnesota Homeownership Center.  Although this is a notable step forward in making housing counseling more accessible to potential buyers, what impact will this have on local housing counseling agencies?

Does this move by Fannie Mae and a similar move by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta portend a change in the landscape?  Is housing counseling undergoing a transformation as counseling moves to online sources?  National online alternative options such as ClearPoint and Framework appear to offer 24/7 access, standardization, quality assurance, and low cost. Technology and online platforms are changing housing counseling processes from intake to service delivery, so what is the role of local nonprofit agencies? How can such agencies remain viable?

The Georgia ACT conference on October 28th offers housing counselors the opportunity to convene and discuss how best to adapt to this changing environment.  Registration is now open. Go to http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=64yzoxjab&oeidk=a07ebgxzs3ed7e957ad

GA ACT Survey – Please Complete by 9/15/15

Good Afternoon, Georgia Advancing Communities Together, Inc. is a statewide membership organization dedicated to building a strong network of housing and community development organizations to benefit lower-income Georgians and underserved communities. We act as a clearinghouse for information and action to advance the field of housing and community economic development through our annual conference, training, peer mentoring, and advocacy on public policy. Your participation in this survey is critical to supporting the future growth and stability of the nonprofit housing and community development sector and the ability to compete in the face of diminished resources. This survey will give us a snapshot of your organization’s current position and abilities. We will use this information to create support for increased capital resources and for industry policies that enable greater community impact. You should be able to complete this survey in 20 minutes. If you get interrupted, you can save your completed responses and come back to finish the survey. Having the following information available may help you complete the survey quickly: · Housing development portfolio · Most recent 990 · Housing counseling/financial literacy data We need your completed survey by Friday, August 14, 2015. Follow the link below to take the survey today and help us show collective impact! Start Survey Thank You Kate Little Georgia Advancing Communities Together, Inc. 250 Georgia Avenue, SE, Suite 350 Atlanta, GA 30312 404/586-0740 klittle@georgiaact.org We have moved. Please note new address and email.

Atlanta foreclosures down, still high

Foreclosures continue to decline in metro Atlanta, yet the region remains one of the nation’s leaders in the category. During the 12 months ending in May, there were 14,340 completed foreclosures in metro Atlanta, the second-highest number among big U.S. metro areas behind only Tampa-St. Petersburg at 17,044, according to CoreLogic, a California-based real estate research firm. Metro Atlanta’s total was down from more than 20,000 completed foreclosures in the prior 12-month period, according to CoreLogic.

The region’s progress tracks the trend in the national housing market, where completed foreclosures fell 19.2 percent from a year earlier. Among states, Georgia had the sixth -highest number at 26,523 completed foreclosures. The top five were Florida (104,000), Michigan (46,000), Texas (33,000), California (28,000) and Ohio (27,000).

Foreclosures became an epidemic after the burst of the housing bubble in 2006-2007, a collapse followed by plunging prices and a financial crisis that led to a devastating recession – which in further undermined housing.

A flood of foreclosures followed, virtually destroying the market for housing in many areas. Home values in many parts of metro Atlanta have yet to return to pre-recession levels. But as foreclosures recede, the market can build momentum. “With three million jobs created during the past year, the improving labor market has helped more borrowers stay current on their mortgage loan,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Because fewer loans are becoming seriously delinquent, the foreclosure inventory has come down to its lowest level in more than seven years, with only 1.3 percent of loans in foreclosure proceedings.” In metro Atlanta, 3.4 percent of mortgages are in serious delinquency, vs. 4.4 percent a year ago, according to CoreLogic.

Down but not OUT!

Freddie Mac Encourages Homebuyers to Utilize Housing Counselors

For first-time homebuyers looking for information or a guide through the complicated buying process, the best option is a conversation with a housing counselor, according to a blog post from Freddie Mac on Monday.
For those buyers who have no idea how to begin the process, might have less-than-perfect credit, might have questions about whether or not they can even afford a home, or concerns about how to avoid being cheated by those deals that seem “to good to be true,” Freddie Mac recommends the best course of action is visiting with a housing counselor.
“Counselors are trained to help in a variety of situations – from giving advice to someone who’s exploring homeownership for the first time, to helping a future homeowner overcome past credit problems (or lack of any credit history at all),” Freddie Mac wrote on its blog. “The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) maintains a list of approved housing counselors across the country, and these services are offered free of charge.”
Counseling may reduce the risk of a first-time homebuyer becoming seriously delinquent by an average of 29 percent on affordable mortgages that required pre-purchase housing counseling, according to research from Freddie Mac. The study also found that one-on-one counseling, classroom counseling, and home study via the Internet, which are the three most common types of housing counseling, are equally effective.
In order to help buyers achieve successful and sustainable homeownership, Freddie Mac is offering pre-purchase counseling and financial literacy education on its expanded Borrower Help Centers and Network. There are also resources available on housing counseling on Freddie Mac’s new My Home website, just launched last month.

Continue reading

HUD Housing Counseling Website for Training

HUD Office of Housing Counseling Deputy Assistant Secretary Sarah Gerecke announced the launch of HUD‘s Housing Counselor Certification website. This website is an important step to help counselors get ready for the upcoming housing counselor certification examination. The website offers free on-line training and a downloadable study guide covering a broad range of statute topics. There is no PowerPoint presentation. View the Housing Counselor Certification website at: hudhousingcounselors.com. On June 16, 2015 there will also be a live demonstration of the website. 

All the best!

Anthony Mitchell

Underwater Atlanta March 17 at the Carter Center

In the aftermath of the foreclosure crisis, metro Atlanta leads the country with 35% of homeowners underwater on their mortgage loans (Haas Institute, 2014).  Housing recovery in the region has been wildly uneven.  The slow rising tide of home prices in affluent neighborhoods has bypassed large portions of metro Atlanta, particularly communities south of I-20 and along portions of the I-85 corridor.

Of the top 10 hardest-hit zip codes in the country for negative equity, nine are located in metro Atlanta. The hardest hit zip code in the country is in Clayton County where  a staggering 76% of homeowners are underwater.  In this Clayton community, 89% of homeowners are African American. The impact of negative equity is even more significant given the fact that home equity accounts for 92% of personal net worth for the typical African-American household.

SAVE THE DATE: On March 17, Piece by Piece will convene its 150+ partner organizations and more to discuss strategies for addressing the negative equity issue. Make plans to join us for a half-day discussion at The Carter Center. MORE | REGISTER

RECOMMENDED READING:
Haas Institute’s “Underwater America”

Full Report | Atlanta Overview | Georgia Overview

BestBank Helps Consumers Build Credit While Saving Money…

BestBank offers a unique program to help consumers build credit while saving money. See details from BestBank on their Credit Builder Loan program.

See details below on the Credit Builder Loan program.  Great opportunity for your clients!

What is it?

Credit Builder is a personal loan secured by a certificate of deposit (CD). This positions you to help your credit history by proving that you can reliably pay back a loan on time. Plus, all principal paid, you get to keep as savings.

No money down and no fees.

The best part of Credit Builder is how easy it is to get started. There’s no down payment or fees. You simply make your monthly loan payments on time, and we take care of the rest.

How to get started.

Visit your local branch and talk to a banker!

https://www.bestbank.com/Loans/CreditBuilder.aspx