New Collaborative Launches Effort to Highlight Housing Counseling for Consumers

John Mechem
(202) 557- 2924

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 21, 2016) -  Housing counseling is available to consumers across the country and represents a tremendous opportunity for those who need assistance on the path to homeownership; but too often, homebuyers and sellers are not even aware it exists.

A national collaboration of lenders, investors, real estate agents and housing counseling agencies announced today that they are joining forces to raise awareness of the opportunities and benefits of working with housing counseling agencies. The collaboration includes the Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Housing Resource Center, the National Association of Realtors®, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, the Asian Real Estate Association of America, HomeFree USA, National Council of La Raza, NID-HCA, Rural Community Assistance Corporation, Center for NYC Neighborhoods, Chhaya Community Development Corporation, HomeSmartNY, Housing Options & Planning Enterprises, Beyond Housing, and Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland.

"MBA believes that housing counseling can play an important role in expanding homeownership opportunities," said MBA President and CEO David Stevens.  "We look forward to being part of the forums so that lenders and other stakeholders can work toward solutions in this area." 

"Homeownership is an investment in the future, but consumers sometimes need a little extra help on the path to get there," said NAR President Tom Salomone. "Homeownership counseling is available to help consumers meet those challenges head on, and the Homeownership Collaborative will make more people aware that these services are available to them."

"Housing Counseling leaders are honored to do more work with the Mortgage Bankers Association and mortgage and real estate giants across the country," said Marcia Griffin, Founder and President of HomeFree USA. "To the people that we serve, the education and preparation that we provide are integral to sustainable homeownership. Together we can put more families into homes and ensure that more loans are approved. This synergy creates a stronger country and financially stronger people. Through us, everybody WINS."

The "Homeownership Collaborative" will pull together industry stakeholders to host partnerships in local housing markets aimed at increasing homeownership opportunities by working with HUD-approved housing counseling agencies. 

The Homeownership Collaborative will try out ideas in four markets during the next year and explore a broader effort in the future, all with the goal of increasing housing counseling awareness. 

Services are available for a range of homebuyers and sellers, including those who:

  • Need more information and guidance about the homebuying and mortgage process
  • Would like to access downpayment assistance and other special programs
  • Have credit problems or other financial challenges to address
  • Would like to work with someone who speaks their language, when English is not their native language.

Today's announcement comes as the White House honors thirteen homebuyers who beat the odds to become homebuyers by working with HUD-approved housing counseling agencies.  Their inspiring stories reinforce the value of working with a housing counselor. 

Research has shown that homebuyers who worked with housing counselors have fewer late mortgage payments[1] and improved credit scores[2]. The Homeownership Collaborative will work to increase consumer awareness about how counseling can expand homeownership opportunities. 

Consumers looking to find a housing counselor working with a HUD approved housing counseling agency can easily find a list by entering their Zipcode in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau housing counselor locator, which can be found here:

1] Pre-Purchase Counseling Impacts on Mortgage Performance: Empirical Analysis of NeighborWorks America's® Experience (2013): Study measuring the impact of pre-purchase counseling and education provided by the NeighborWorks housing counseling network on 75,000 loans originated between October 2007 and September 2009 found that clients who received pre-purchase counseling and education from NeighborWorks organizations were one-third less likely to become 90+ days delinquent than were borrowers who did not receive pre-purchase counseling.

2] The Effectiveness of Pre-Purchase Homeownership Counseling and Financial Management Skills (April 2014): Long-term, randomized study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, in which participants were randomly assigned to receive either 2 hours of group education or 2 hours of group education and follow-up one-on-one counseling. Participants who received both one-on-one counseling and group education saw significantly greater improvements in their average credit score and their average number of delinquent accounts than the participants who received just group education.