Housing Counseling's Upcoming Challenges

September 15, 2017 Edward Seiler, Ph.D.

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As I help Summit Partner Anthony Curcio prepare for the panel on “The Evolving Need for Housing Counseling” he is moderating on September 27 at the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) Conference, I am reminded of the important challenges housing counselors will face over the next few years.

Demand for different types of counseling has been largely cyclical, following trends in housing finance. For example, during the foreclosure crisis that began about 2008, foreclosure mitigation counseling dominated. However, as time passes from the crisis, other types of counseling are likely to dominate. Pre-purchase counseling may continue to constitute the largest part of counseling demand, particularly as a record number of banks are loosening underwriting standards. But changing homeowner demographics and improving economic conditions are also likely to play an important role in shaping demand. For example, baby-boomer retirees living on fixed incomes may want to cash-out some of their equity through reverse mortgages, and borrowers with adjustable-rate mortgages will face payment resets as interest rates rise.

At this time, it is also important to remind ourselves of the importance of housing counseling after natural disasters such as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Affected homeowners need to be able to get their lives back together in many respects. Financial counseling on how to deal with hazard and flood insurance, home repairs, mortgage payments, and temporary location rent help is essential to assist in recovery.

I am excited to learn what the panel’s experts—Lot Diaz (VP, Housing and Community Development at Unidos (formerly the National Council of La Raza)), Sarah Gerecke (Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Housing Counseling at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development), and Gene Spencer (Senior Vice President at the Homeownership Preservation Foundation)—have to say on upcoming housing counseling trends.

Come join the conversation. I look forward to seeing you there.

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