President Biden issues Proclamation marking June as National Homeownership Month
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mark June as National Homeownership Month following President Biden’s proclamation issued on Tuesday. This year’s Homeownership Month celebrates the 20th year of this opportunity to amplify the benefits of homeownership and the work that remains to achieve fairness and equity in access to affordable homeownership for all Americans who seek it.
In alignment with the Biden-Harris Administration’s deep commitment to enabling more households to enjoy the stability and wealth creation that is made possible through homeownership, throughout the month, HUD and FHA will hold a series of events and engagements to amplify the Department’s efforts to support potential homeowners, increase housing supply and affordability, and ensure sustainability for existing homeowners.
“Each June, we mark National Homeownership Month, a time for HUD and FHA to renew our commitment to supporting individuals and families in achieving and sustaining homeownership,” said Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “Homeownership is a key source of wealth building and is often the foundation for one’s life. Unfortunately, the lack of affordable housing supply has placed homeownership out of reach for many people with low and moderate incomes, first-time homebuyers, and communities that have been historically and systemically locked out of homeownership. The Biden-Harris Administration has put forth the most comprehensive effort to close the housing supply shortfall in history, and we will continue to take action to address the barriers families are facing in today’s housing market.”
“The Federal Housing Administration and HUD’s Office of Housing are an important part of the nation’s housing system,” said Federal Housing Commissioner Julia Gordon. “And while we are proud that we serve more than 700,000 first-time homebuyers on average each year, we remain committed to enhancing and improving our programs to promote expanded access and equity in homeownership, particularly for underserved communities.”
HUD’s Office of Housing and Federal Housing Administration play a vital role for the nation’s homebuyers, homeowners, renters, and communities through their nationally administered programs. Today, under the leadership of Secretary Fudge and Commissioner Gordon, HUD continues to prioritize FHA’s mission through:
Taking Action to Increase Housing Supply and Access to Affordable Housing. Under the leadership of President Biden and Secretary Fudge, HUD has taken action to ease the burden of housing costs over time by boosting the supply of quality housing in every community. In May, the Biden-Harris Administration announced an Action Plan to Ease the Burden of Housing Costs. The Plan is a set of legislative and administrative steps aimed at closing the housing supply gap within the next five years. HUD is also making more single-family homes available to individuals, families, and non-profit organizations by prioritizing homeownership and sale to non-profits when disposing of HUD-held assets.
Launched a Whole-of-Government Plan for Wide-Ranging Reforms to Advance Equity in Home Appraisals. In March, HUD delivered the Interagency Task Force on Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity (PAVE) Action Plan to President Biden. The PAVE Action Plan is aimed squarely at dismantling racial bias in the home lending and appraisal process and promoting generational wealth creation through homeownership. This Action Plan, when enacted, represents the most wide-ranging set of reforms ever put forward to advance equity in the home appraisal process. The PAVE Task Force, co-chaired by Secretary Fudge and White House Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice, is the first-of-its-kind interagency initiative to address racial bias in home appraisals and includes senior leaders from thirteen Cabinet and independent agencies and components of the Executive Office of the President.
Serving More First-time Homebuyers and Communities of Color. In November, FHA announced a historically strong Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund Report showing that, in addition to its emphasis on delivering relief options to homeowners financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, FHA continued to deliver on its mission of enabling homeownership for first-time homebuyers, people with low and moderate incomes, and households of color. The percentage of first-time homebuyers using FHA insurance reached a new high, the share of FHA-insured mortgages made to minority borrowers reached almost 42 percent of all FHA forward mortgage insurance endorsements. According to 2020 HMDA data, FHA served double the percentage of Black and Hispanic borrowers compared to the rest of the mortgage market.
Preventing Foreclosures for Borrowers Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic. HUD and FHA continue to assist borrowers who missed mortgages payments because of COVID-19. For some time now, FHA has offered a number of mortgage options. In April, FHA added a new 40-year mortgage modification option for mortgage servicers to use in conjunction with its partial claim option to assist additional borrowers who are behind on their mortgage payments.
As a result, FHA’s seriously delinquent rate has significantly decreased from a high of 11.90%, or 942,000 mortgages, at the end of November 2020 to 5.23%, or 380,000 mortgages, as of April 2022. This improvement is due in large part to the effectiveness of FHA options. Since January 2021 alone, more than one million borrowers have exited forbearance. From January 2021 through April 2022, FHA servicers have completed almost 1.3 million COVID-19 home retention actions through loss mitigation options.
Removing Barriers to Homeownership for Those with Student Loan Debt. Last summer, FHA updated its policy on student loan monthly payment calculations to remove barriers and provide more access to affordable single-family FHA-insured mortgage financing for creditworthy individuals with student loan debt, which has disproportionate impact on communities of color. The new policy bases the monthly payment on the actual student loan payment a borrower pays, rather than a percentage of the balance, more closely aligning FHA policies with industry standards.
Affirmed the Use of Special Purpose Credit Programs. More than 50 years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act, access to security and wealth provided by homeownership remains persistently unequal. Part of the solution to that problem has to be for lenders and others to find creative ways to extend credit to communities that desperately need it to start building equity. In December, HUD made clear that the use of certain Special Purpose Credit Programs (SPCPs) to help address inequities in barriers to credit and homeownership is lawful under the Fair Housing Act. A Special Purpose Credit Program is a tool that allows lenders to meet the specific needs of historically disadvantaged groups. On January 26, Secretary Fudge convened a virtual meeting with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Reserve, Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), and National Credit Union Association to discuss the roles of HUD and partner agencies in expanding homeownership opportunities for those who have been and continue to be systemically excluded from the housing and credit markets. The group discussed future steps to encourage use of SPCPs as a means of addressing persistent disparities in access to homeownership.
Setting the Stage for Increased Fair Housing and Lending Enforcement and Access. Last summer, HUD entered into a first-of-its-kind memorandum of understanding (MOU) with FHFA, marking a historic collaboration on fair housing and fair lending enforcement and oversight engagement with the FHFA-regulated entities including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks. This comprehensive effort will ensure deeper collaboration on fair housing investigations and enable data sharing to help strengthen and affirmatively further fair housing for the mortgage industry.