MReport April 2022

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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10 | M R EP O RT COVER STORY Building a More Diverse Future MReport looked through the eyes of five on the front lines of the industry's diversity and inclusion efforts to analyze what's working, what's not working, and what else can be done to diversify the mortgage space. By Eric C. Peck A s the nation struggled through the pandemic, the housing market seemed to be revitalized, and a variety of factors played a role in this kickstart. According to a recent National Association of Realtors (NAR) survey, U.S. homeownership rate surged 1.3% to 65.5% in 2020—the highest annual rise ever—as 2.6 million more households became homeowners compared to 2019. Among the 2.6 million new households, new emerging markets were blazing new paths. NAR's data found that white Americans (72.1%), Asian Americans (61.7%), and Hispanic Americans (51.1%) all achieved decade-long highs in homeownership in 2020, with the rate of Hispanic Americans setting a record, exceeding 50% for the first time ever. One demographic that saw a decline was the home- ownership rate for Black Americans (43.4%), which trailed behind that of a decade ago (44.2% in 2010). "Homeownership can be a way to build genera- tional wealth for families, but there are significant barriers to entry, especially in today's high-priced and fast-moving housing market," said George Ratiu, Manager of Economic Research for Realtor. com. "There are a number of programs available to help first-time buyers break into the market, but many people either don't know that these programs exist or don't know where to start in finding one that works for their situation." These new markets were not the only com- ponents boosting the nation's housing market. Outside of these new emerging markets, gender roles continue to bring diversity to the mortgage space, as a once male-dominated share had begun to give way to the growing single-female seeking to build equity and wealth through the pursuit of homeownership. First American recently reported that despite the aftermath of the Great Recession when the overall homeownership rate reached a low point of 63% in 2016, 2021 saw that total rebound to 65.5%. This rise was led by single female-headed house- holds (including widowed, separated, or divorced) which exceeded 53% in 2021, jumping from a low mark of 50% in 2016. An analysis by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) further supports the claim that single women are prioritizing homeownership, as 42% of single women make financial sacrifices, com- pared to 32% of single men who purchase homes. With these new and emerging markets comes the dilemma faced by the mortgage finance in- dustry. Who is tapping into these markets? How are these new segments being marketed to? Are certain segments of these new emerging markets comfortable dealing with just anyone in clos-

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