Celebrating National Homeownership Month: MBA’s Commitment to Affordable Housing and Generational Wealth

(l. to r.: MBA’s Katelynn Harris Walker, Steve O’Connor and Wendy Penn at the National Housing Conference gala in June 2024)

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Affordable Homeownership Advisory Council is celebrating National Homeownership Month by highlighting our mission to expand the supply of affordable housing, close the minority homeownership gap and promote sustainable generational wealth.

National Homeownership Month offers a unique opportunity to emphasize the significance of homeownership and its transformative impact on families and communities.

Recognizing the Importance of Affordable Housing

Affordable housing is more than a basic need; it is a cornerstone of financial stability and community strength. MBA and the Council are dedicated to advocating for policies and programs that make homeownership attainable for all, particularly for underserved communities.

“Addressing barriers to homeownership is deep and complex work because so are the barriers. Trying to balance practical solutions while never losing sight of the deep, structural challenges is the way to real change. Real change means lowering those barriers through solutions like providing more data to show more people are eligible to access equity in a home solution,” said Jeremy Potter, Founder of Next Belt Strategies and a key partner of the Council.

Through efforts such as downpayment assistance programs, financial capability initiatives, and support for Special Purpose Credit Programs (SPCPs), we are making strides toward equitable homeownership.

Closing the Minority Homeownership Gap

Homeownership rates among minority communities remain significantly lower than those of their white counterparts. This disparity contributes to the wealth gap and limits economic opportunities for families of color. National Homeownership Month is a call to action for all stakeholders to work together to close this gap.

“As we celebrate National Homeownership Month, I’m proud to shine a spotlight on our shared mission with the MBA to make homeownership more accessible through downpayment assistance programs and other innovative efforts that not only work to increase affordability and close the minority homeownership gap, but also make owning a home more sustainable so families can preserve this valuable asset for future generations,” said Council Co-Chair Michael Innis-Thompson, Senior Vice President, Head of Community Development & Fair Lending Center of Excellence of TD Bank.

Innovative Research and Development Efforts

The Council is leading research and development efforts aimed at creating innovative solutions to enhance homeownership opportunities by expanding the use of positive rental payment reporting. Positive rental reporting allows renters to build their credit histories through consistent rental payments, making it easier for them to qualify for mortgages. These innovations are designed to make the path to homeownership more accessible for a broader range of individuals and families.

“Limited or no established credit history can be a significant barrier to accessing mortgage financing options with favorable terms,” said Kasey Kier, National Community Development Manager of Bell Bank and a Council member. “Positive rent payment history can help establish a borrower’s creditworthiness and demonstrates their ability to make timely mortgage payments, the Council’s research and development in this space can be a catalyst for systemic change in how credit is assessed and expand equitable and sustainable homeownership opportunities.”

Ensuring Sustainability for Generational Wealth

Homeownership has always been a source of pride, accomplishment, financial stability and a means to building generational wealth for families.

“Sustainable homeownership is essential for building generational wealth. Our efforts at the Council focus not only on helping families purchase homes but also on ensuring they can maintain and preserve these assets for future generations,” said Julie Steinhagen, co-chair of the Council and Senior Vice President, Mortgage Region Manager Community Lending at Huntington National Bank.

National Homeownership Month is a time to celebrate progress and reaffirm our commitment to making homeownership accessible and sustainable for all. Together, we can continue to drive positive change and ensure that the dream of homeownership becomes a reality for more families, fostering generational wealth and stronger communities. Join us in this important effort as we work together to create a more inclusive and prosperous future.