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The Week Ahead: Plotting Equitable Pathways to Homeownership

From government hearings to ideas presented by industry experts, many these days in the age of affordability concerns, are weighing in on the topic of affordable housing.

On Wednesday, August 10, the Urban Institute—a non-profit research organization that provides data and evidence to help advance upward mobility and equity—along with The Pew Charitable Trusts, will present the virtual event, "The Push and Pull of Alternative Pathways to Affordable Homeownership," at 11:00 a.m. Central.

Homeownership is a critical wealth-building tool, but not everyone has an equitable opportunity to become a homeowner. The Urban Institute cites that approximately one in five borrowers—nearly 36 million Americans—has used alternative financing instead of a traditional mortgage. These include land contracts, lease-purchase options, seller-financed mortgages, and personal property or chattel loans. Alternative financing arrangements typically cost more, and carry fewer protections than mortgages, which are buoyed by tax incentives and strong public policy.

And while alternative financing can offer a pathway to homeownership for borrowers who cannot access a mortgage, some of these borrowers go on to experience higher costs, eviction, a loss of equity, and other unforeseen costs.

During this event, the latest findings on pathways to homeownership—such as lease-purchase agreements, manufactured housing chattel financing, and small-dollar mortgages—will be presented, as panelists detail how reforms in housing finance will enable more low- and middle-income households to pursue the American dream of homeownership, and what challenges these households may face on that road.

Opening remarks will be delivered by Janneke Ratcliffe, VP of Housing Finance Policy for the Urban Institute, followed by presentations from Karan Kaul, Principal Research Associate for the Urban Institute; and Tara Roche, Manager of Consumer and Home Financing for The Pew Charitable Trusts; and Michael Stegman, Non-Resident Fellow for the Urban Institute.

They will be followed by a panel discussion, moderated by Laurie Goodman, Institute Fellow and Founder of the Housing Finance Policy Center for the Urban Institute, as she welcomes Stacey Epperson, Founder, President and CEO of the Next Step Network; Akilah Watkins, President and CEO of the Center for Community Progress; and William Young, Co-Founder and CEO of Home Partners of America who will be dissecting the topic and presenting solutions to this lingering problem.

As VP of the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute, Ratcliffe joins HFPC’s leadership team to manage execution of the center’s mission. Over a career that spans industry, the nonprofit sector, academic research, and the federal government, her work has focused on increasing access to financial systems that foster economic security and prosperity. Ratcliffe came to Urban from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), where she served as Assistant Director, leading the Bureau’s Office of Financial Education.

Kaul, as a Principal Research Associate in the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute, publishes innovative, data-driven research on complex, high-impact policy issues to improve the U.S. mortgage finance system. He has published more than 100 research articles on such topics as the housing supply crisis, mortgage servicing reforms, efficient access to credit, benefits of alternative credit scoring, industry safety and soundness, and institutional single-family rentals. He has also advocated for efficient industry practices, regulation, and legislation to make the mortgage market work better for all Americans.

Roche manages research with Pew’s consumer finance project, conducting original analyses of the safety, affordability, and availability of small mortgages and alternative financial arrangements used to purchase manufactured and other low-cost forms of housing. Her previous work at Pew includes research on everyday financial products, including small-dollar loans, mobile payments, and student loans to inform policy recommendations that protect consumers from harmful practices and promote safe, transparent credit.

Stegman is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Urban Institute, a Visiting Professor at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, and Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Founding Chair of the Department of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Previously, he was Senior Policy Advisor for Housing in the Obama White House at the National Economic Council, following serving three years as Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury for housing finance policy. He also served as Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research at HUD during the Clinton Administration, and was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research at HUD President Jimmy Carter.

Serving as moderator, Goodman is an Institute Fellow and the Founder of the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute. Before joining Urban, Goodman spent 30 years as an analyst and research department manager at several Wall Street firms. From 2008-2013, she was a Senior Managing Director at Amherst Securities Group LP, a boutique broker/dealer specializing in securitized products, where her strategy effort became known for its analysis of housing policy issues. From 1993-2008, Goodman was Head of Global Fixed Income Research and Manager of U.S. securitized products research at UBS and predecessor firms, which were ranked first by Institutional Investor for 11 straight years. Before that, she held research and portfolio management positions at several Wall Street firms. She began her career as a Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and was inducted into the Fixed Income Analysts Hall of Fame in 2009.

Click here for more information or to register for "The Push and Pull of Alternative Pathways to Affordable Homeownership."

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About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.
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