The goal of owning a home is deeply rooted in the Hispanic culture. It’s considered a symbol of success and an important element when providing for one’s family. The housing crisis hit Hispanic families particularly hard. The Hispanic homeownership rate now stands at 45.9 percent, well below the national rate of 65 percent. Thousands of Hispanic homeowners are still “underwater” on their homes, while even more lost their homes to foreclosure.
New Directions for National Policy, the Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Commission has put forth a comprehensive plan for an entirely new system of housing finance. Under the plan, the private sector will play a far greater role in bearing mortgage-credit risk.
A key goal of the plan is to preserve the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which has allowed millions of low- and moderate-income families to achieve their dreams of homeownership. Stretching out the mortgage payments over 30 years helps keep monthly payments low and provides certainty to borrowers by protecting them against interest rate volatility over the life of the loan. Other elements of the plan include promoting the widespread availability of housing counseling for first-time homebuyers and adopting sound underwriting standards.
As the housing market continues to recover, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), reports why Hispanics will be a dominant force in the housing market for years to come- First, the Hispanic community is growing dramatically, with some experts predicting the Hispanic share of the overall population climbing to 29 percent by the year 2050. Second, the purchasing power of Hispanics is on the rise and exceeded $1 trillion in 2012. Third, Hispanic educational levels are increasing, with Hispanics now the largest minority group on our nation’s college campuses.
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When the housing bubble burst in 2007, Americans were hit hard. According to RealtyTrac, 4.8 million borrowers lost their homes to foreclosure and 2.2 million gave up their homes in short sales. The recovery has been slow, but finally the housing market is re-emerging and showing signs of strength. Many former homeowners have learned difficult lessons and gained a new perspective on saving and making wise investments.
Following these tips will help set prospective buyers who have previously faced a foreclosure or short sale on the right path to homeownership:
• Work with a reputable lender. Make sure that person has the experience and knowledge to help you make an informed, affordable lending decision. They can also explain the time limits that affect buyers who have previously faced a foreclosure or short sale. There is generally a set amount of time that needs to pass before you are eligible to be considered again for a mortgage loan.
• Make an honest assessment of your credit situation. Having a foreclosure or short sale on your financial record will affect what options you may have for loan approval. Be an informed borrower. Access your credit report from all three credit agencies by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. It’s free!
• Save up for a down payment. Homebuyers re-entering the housing market after a foreclosure or short sale typically need to have a 20% down payment before purchasing a home. Keep in mind the additional expenses you may have to cover, such as closing costs. Properly handling financial responsibilities of homeownership beyond the monthly mortgage payment like taxes, homeowner’s insurance, utilities and other household expenses will be important in earning your loan approval.
• Get preapproved. It’s a good idea to work with a lender who offers a pre-approval program. The preapproval process helps borrowers determine their budget, first before getting into their home search.
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