Friday, May 24, 2013

Immigration Reform: A Boost for Housing?

Recent data shows that the housing market continues to improve here in Minnesota and in many markets throughout the country.  The recovery may get an additional boost if the forecasts of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) hold true.  

On May 20th, NAHREP released a report that projects over $500 Billion dollars in spending related to real estate and homeownership spending if Washington passes comprehensive immigration reform for the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the US.  

They forecast that up to 3 million of these immigrants could become homebuyers over the next several years with an average home price of about $173,000. 

Their reasoning is simple: the options for accessing mortgage loans and lending products for undocumented immigrants are extremely limited.   Any legalization of their immigration status would immediately allow these potential buyers to obtain a Social Security number, a requirement for most lending products.  

NAHREP’s projections maybe overstated (it’s impossible to gauge the future intentions of those who are currently out of status in the US) and immigration reform is far from a done-deal in Washington, but the Minnesota Homeownership Center understands the potential boost for housing that legalization would bring.   A recent report from the University of Southern California found that over one third of the increased demand for homes in this decade has been generated by immigrant buyers. 

The Minnesota Homeownership Center is prepared for a possible influx of new first-time homebuyers:

  • Our website contains important information for potential homebuyers and easily allows users to switch quickly between Spanish and English;
  • We continue to provide support for Home Stretch workshops (and supplemental materials) in Spanish throughout the State;
  • Our online homebuyer education tool, Framework, will be available in Spanish in the coming months;
  • We continue to support and administer the Emerging Markets Homeownership Initiative that brings together industry professionals and non-profit organizations working to improve homeownership rates in communities of color.

First-time buyers, citizens and immigrants alike, are reminded that before you start the process of making what may be the LARGEST PURCHASE IN YOUR LIFE, we highly recommend that you participate in a Home Stretch workshop or take the online homebuyer course, Framework. These classes are recognized nationally as a proven tool for preparing Minnesotans to be successful homeowners.  These workshops help you to understand, start to finish, the process of becoming a successful homeowner and cover important topics like:

  • real estate and mortgage loan terminology, 
  • how to shop for a home and a loan that are right for YOU, 
  • how your credit affects your loan payments, 
  • how to avoid being taken advantage of during the homebuying process, 
  • and much, much more. 

For more information about upcoming Home Stretch workshops, click here.  To take Framework online, click here.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

HECAT RFP Available for Nonprofit Housing Organizations

We've highlighted many times on the @Home blog how our collaborative network approach to homeownership education and counseling in Minnesota is unique.  One of key pieces of our successful collaborative approach is that we are the only state in the country with a dedicated pool of funds that provides financial support to eligible non-profit organizations to deliver a variety homebuyer and homeowner services. This dedicated pool is known as HECAT (The Homeownership Education, Counseling and Training Fund).

Some of the valuable services that are funded through HECAT include:

  • Pre-purchase education and counseling (Home Stretch),
  • Post-purchase education and counseling,
  • Home equity conversion counseling (Reverse Mortgages) and
  • Foreclosure prevention counseling

Funds for HECAT come from a public-private partnership of agencies and organizations that are fully invested in ensuring that Minnesotans have access to the education and counseling tools necessary to achieve successful (sustainable) home ownership:

Each of the funding partners not only contribute financial resources they also actively participate in the grant-making process and provide technical assistance throughout the year. 

The Request for Proposal (RFP) for funding for programs in 2013 and 2014 (funding year runs from October 1st through September 30th) is NOW OPEN.  The deadline for applications is 3:00pm on Monday, June 10th.  This is a STRICT deadline.

Submission of Applications:  This year, nonprofits that are interested in applying for the HECAT RFP, must submit their applications both electronically and a hard copy via mail/dropoff before the deadline.  A account is required for the electronic upload and it is HIGHLY recommended that you open an account well before the deadline to avoid possible issues.  

For more information about HECAT, or to view the RFP and even lists of award recipients from previous years, visit the Minnesota Housing website... here.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Uptick in Preforeclosure Notices: Blip or Trend?

A mixed-bag for foreclosures in Minnesota

On Wednesday, May 1st, the Minnesota Homeownership Center released its first quarter data on the aggregate number of Preforeclosure Notices received by foreclosure prevention specialists in the Homeownership Advisors Network.  The numbers send some mixed messages.  Overall… it’s something that we’ll need to track carefully over the coming quarters.  

In the first quarter of 2013, members of the Homeownership Advisors Network received 9,291 preforeclosure notices, 23% fewer than during the same time period in 2012, but a somewhat troubling 34% increase from the number received in the Fourth Quarter of 2012.  

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The Twin Cities Metro area also saw a similar situation with their preforeclosure notice numbers… down Year-Over-Year (-34.5%) while up from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2013 (+25.1%).

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Interestingly… there was a WIDE variance in the year-over-year comparison of preforeclosure notices received by homeowners in the Twin Cities Metro:

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Suburban Hennepin County homeowners received less than HALF the number of preforeclosure notices in the first quarter of 2013 than they received in the first quarter of 2012.  However, 20% MORE Ramsey County residents received a preforeclosure notice when we compare the same time period.

While most Metro counties overall saw generous declines in the number of struggling homeowners… Anoka County bucked that trend and 44 more households received a notice in the first quarter of 2013 than in the same quarter in 2012.  (A 4% increase).

One quarter of data does NOT make a trend.  We’ll keep monitoring these numbers carefully over the coming quarters to see if a trend develops.

We certainly don’t want to sound like a broken record… but it’s also important to keep in mind that while the overall trend of preforeclosure notices continues to head in the right direction… the numbers signify that almost 10,000 Minnesota families continue to fall behind in mortgage payments.  Tens of thousands more are surely struggling to make mortgage payments and will continue to need the foreclosure prevention services provided by the Minnesota Homeownership Center and the Homeownership Advisors Network.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with to keep up with their mortgage payments, or is worried about a FUTURE payment... don't delay, contact a Homeownership Advisor that specializes in foreclosure today!  To learn more, or to contact your local organization, click here.