Washington, D.C. – UNC Center for Community Capital executive director Janneke Ratcliffe spoke on “Redefining the Dream: Affordable Homeownership after the Great Recession” Feb. 8 at Habitat on the Hill in Washington, D.C.
“Homeownership did not cause the foreclosure crisis. Risky products drove defaults that precipitated the crisis,” Ratcliffe told Habitat volunteers gathered for the three-day event to learn about policies and strategies for expanding homeownership for low- and moderate-income families.
Homeownership done right leads makes financial sense, she said. It promotes forced savings and wealth creation. Accumulated equity can be accessed for college education, retirement or other important uses. It brings non-financial benefits. Compared to renters, lower-income owners manage financial stress better and feel more economically satisfied. Homeownership remains a defining American value.
Post-Great Recession, America should return to a housing finance system that worked for decades. That system calls for sound underwriting, responsible loan servicing, good mortgage products, supportive market structures and a holistic housing policy, said Ratcliffe.
“Policies and programs which genuinely seek to expand access to homeownership are not to blame for the foreclosure crisis. If anything, they offer a way out,” she said.
Read her remarks.
Ratcliffe is an expert in mortgage finance and co-author of Regaining the Dream: How to Renew the Promise of Homeownership for America’s Working Families. The new book, written with center director Roberto Quercia and senior research associate Allison Freeman, examines the real causes of the foreclosure crisis and how to rebuild a sustainable U.S. housing finance system.
Housing finance is a key area of study for the UNC Center for Community Capital, the leading center for research and policy analysis on the transformative power of capital on households and communities in the United States. The center is part of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Its in-depth analyses help policymakers, advocates and the private sector find sustainable ways to expand economic opportunity to more people, more effectively. For more information, visit www.ccc.unc.edu or call (919) 843-2140.
Topics(s): Affordable Homeownership, Impacts of Homeownership, Mortgage Finance