Marcia's Blog

National Homeownership Month: Time to take stock

June is National Homeownership Month, a good time to reflect upon how effective we as an industry have been in making homeownership accessible for all Americans.

There is a lot of good news to go around:

While those statistics show that there are good opportunities for homebuyers, let’s not celebrate yet.

In April, there were 125,875 foreclosure filings made on U.S. properties, up three percent from March and up 9 percent from a year ago.

It is not enough for us to help consumers buy homes; we must make sure they are equipped to keep their homes.

Studies have shown that those who receive pre-purchase home buyer education have a lower default rate than those who do not. So we know that financial education works, yet many Americans admit that they aren’t equipped with the very knowledge that they need. In fact, according to the 2015 Financial Literacy Survey, 41 percent of consumers would give their knowledge of personal finance a grade of “C” or below.

As we promote homeownership this month, we must make sure we give consumers all of the information that they need to be successful. We can’t just toss them the keys to a new home without giving them the financial education to stay there for the next 30 years if they so choose.

Without guidance, the mortgage process can be confusing, difficult and misleading. One wrong decision can cost consumers thousands of dollars.

We’ve done a good job of showing consumers the path to homeownership, but we can’t just leave them to find their way to the finish line. We must do a better job of guiding them every step of the way.

Once we do that, we’ll truly have reason to celebrate.