Publication Date

July 2014

Author(s)

Janneke Ratcliffe, Roberto G. Quercia

The center offers four recommendations to help the program achieve its goals of improving the performance of the FHA’s mortgage fund, expanding the number of families who benefit from homeownership counseling and increasing access to sustainable home mortgages for buyers underserved by the current market.

This paper is a comment to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on a proposed four-year, two-phase housing counseling pilot. The HAWK pilot represents the opportunity to provide empirical evidence regarding the effectiveness of homeownership counseling, an element that has long been missing from discussions on the value of counseling requirements, the center says in its comment.

The Pre-Purchase Homeownership Counseling Demonstration and Impact Evaluation is an important first step toward that goal.

Researchers offer four recommendations to ensure the pilot project achieves its goal of improving the performance of the FHA’s mortgage fund, expanding the number of families who benefit from homeownership counseling and increasing access to sustainable home mortgages for buyers underserved by the current market:

  1. Encourage a variety of delivery methods for counseling services, while ensuring and monitoring the quality of the curriculum as well as the capacity of the provider.Consistency in the quality of counseling is critical to the success of the program.
  2. Ensure that costs, benefits and incentives are structured in a manner that appeals to consumers, minimizes FHA losses and engages lenders.
  3. Leverage the pilot to strengthen networks and platforms for delivering high quality services.
  4. Build in careful evaluation of outcomes.