THE CRISIS

We need Affordable Housing and we need it NOW!!!  I have been in the mortgage business for over 15 years in numerous positions and have weathered the storm of instability in the mortgage industry for years.  In this period, the mortgage business has seen several changes including policy and industry guidelines that continue to shape the mortgage narrative. We have seen the gap in homeownership affordability for low- and moderate-income families become increasingly widened making it more difficult for millions to afford their own home.  

The country is in the grips of an escalating housing affordability crisis. Millions of low-and-moderate income Americans are paying 70% or more of their incomes for shelter, while rents continue to rise and construction of affordable rental apartments lags far behind the need.  

Today, millions of families across the country are struggling to afford homes that are safe and connected to resources they need.  Resources like good schools, jobs that pay living wages, safe and reliable transportation, and high-quality health care are all staples of healthy communities.  Since 1 out of every 6 families in the United States spend more than 50% of their income on housing, other necessities are forfeited. These necessities include food and proper medicine, provisions no American should have to forfeit.

As someone who has worked in the homebuilding industry for more than 15 years, I have never seen the housing situation more desperate. The combination of rising rents and unsustainable housing costs is wreaking havoc on families across America.

Soaring rents are having a major spillover effect in the homeownership market, making it even more difficult for families to accumulate funds for a down payment on a home.  Rent increases and a spike in construction costs coupled with years of stagnating incomes, tighter underwriting standards, and record levels of student loan and credit card debt have weighed heavily on the national homeownership rate.  The result is that millions of households are shut out of the wealth-building opportunities that homeownership can provide simply because they no longer can afford it.

THE SOLUTION

I believe the solution may be to continue to converse on this topic within the political arena and gather momentum in the private sector in order to create opportunities that are affordable for those low-and-middle income families.  

Purchasing a home is one of the best ways to invest in your future; however, it is often the largest financial decision most people will ever make.  I believe educating potential homeowners and changing the public narrative will motivate families that would have never considered homeownership a possibility.  I believe that looking to the historical research of the past and present will inform us on how to shape the future of affordable housing. This means providing proper and relevant education to both the consumer and public alike.

Practically speaking, the government should be more involved in promoting the private sector through grants, subsidies and tax benefits.  I believe this will foster innovation and creative construction of new and renovated homes giving more opportunities to more and more families to achieve the American Dream.

Jason Farino – Sales Manager – Finance Mortgage of America