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New York City, N.Y. – The nation’s new housing policy and solutions to the foreclosure crisis should draw on facts and evidence, UNC Center for Community Capital researchers said at a May 12 Ford Foundation-sponsored symposium on the future of U.S. homeownership post-Great Depression.

Those facts overwhelmingly support the notion that homeownership can be a solid path to a more secure financial future for lower-wealth and lower-income families, center director Roberto G. Quercia said in opening remarks at “Rebuilding the American Dream: Homeownership after the Great Recession,” hosted by the Ford Foundation with Habitat for Humanity and the Hearst Foundations.

“Counteracting common misconceptions about what caused the crisis with facts and evidence is a necessary first step to move forward on sound, sustainable housing policy,” Quercia said.

The symposium convened leaders from a diverse mix of sectors to chart a future for a sustainable and affordable housing finance system that promotes the economic prosperity of families and  the nation.

Center executive director Janneke Ratcliffe, a symposium panelist, outlined five key takeaways from the center’s decades of research on a large portfolio of affordable mortgages:

  • Sustainable lending to low-wealth, lower-income and minority borrowers works.
  • A good loan, in and of itself – such as a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage — can reduce risk and thereby make it possible for more households to be able to enter and sustain homeownership.
  • Homeownership carries a host of benefits for low-income, low-wealth households, similar to the benefits it holds for others.
  • Good policy is based on facts and evidence; research must be built into the infrastructure of the work.
  • The Community Advantage Program, which generated the large  portfolio of affordable mortgages that the center studies, demonstrated what can happen when low-income and low-wealth households are given a chance to get what everyone else has – not something separate and unequal, like a risky mortgage or a special program, but access to the mainstream conventional market and prime-priced, high-quality, transparent mortgages.

View Ratcliffe’s remarks.

Housing finance is a major area of focus for the 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, Housing Policy, Mortgage Finance
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