Piece by Piece
Negative Equity Plague
How Landlords Can Win Trust
GSE's Approve 3% Down Mortgages
Wealth Gap Widened
70% Unaware of DPA
Renting Cost Exceeds Buying
Paul Weech Named NWA CEO
2nd Round of VASH Announced
Debt Cuts Allowed
GSE's to Support Housing Funds
Enhancements to "Making Home Affordable"
1-on-1 Counseling More Effective
Millennials Ready?
Mallach on Urban Homeownership
Calendar Items


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Piece by Piece Update

November 2014





Happy Holidays!  

Please take note of the following news and calendar updates:


Negative Equity Plagues Owners of Low-Priced Homes; Atlanta Leads the Country


(Courtesy of Housing Matters and Wall Street Journal); A Zillow report divided homes into three categories based on estimated value and found that 27.4% of borrowers with homes in the lowest-price category have negative equity. By comparison, 9.3% of borrowers in the highest tier and 15.7% in the middle tier have negative equity.  Atlanta leads the country with 50.5% of homes in the lowest-price category in negative equity.  Detroit follows Atlanta with 49.2% of bottom tier homes in negative equity.  MORE

Note: Piece by Piece will be hosting a conference to address negative equity on March 17.  Look for SAVE THE DATE announcement after the holidays.  

How America's Newest Landlords Can Win Public Trust


(Courtesy of the Center for American Progress): The Center for American Progress (CAP) recently released recommendations for guidelines that single family rental firms (often financed by Wall Street investors) can follow to demonstrate that they are part of the solution to the nation's foreclosure and rental affordability crisis.  Broad recommendations include: committing to core tenant protections; treating all renters fairly and provide greater opportunity by accepting rental vouchers; preserving affordability; ensuring the community knows who owns the home; and investing in the surrounding neighborhood and, when it's time, leaving responsibly.  As a thought leader on this issue, CAP provides detailed strategies within each recommendation category in their comprehensive brief. MORE


Freddie Mac and Fannie May Officially Approve 3% Down Payment Mortgages


(Courtesy of NHC, Rebekah King): Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have announced their 3% down payment loan option for qualified first-time homebuyers, following Federal Housing Finance Agency approval to resume such programs earlier this year. These loans will require several layers of protections to ensure that loans go to responsible borrowers, including required homebuyer counseling, underwriting requirements, documentation requirements, and private mortgage insurance or other risk sharing in first loss position. Fannie Mae's announcement also includes a limited refinancing option for borrowers who do not qualify for HARP. Follow the story from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae


Wealth Gap Widened Since Great Recession


The Great Recession has widened the wealth gap among white, black and Hispanic Americans, with median net worth in white households increasing to 13 times that for African-Americans, a new Pew Research Center study shows.  The study also shows that from 2007 to 2013, the wealth of white households has grown to 10 times that of Hispanic households.The current gap between blacks and whites has reached its highest point since 1989, when whites had 17 times the wealth of black households. The current white-to-Hispanic wealth ratio has reached a level not seen since 2001. MORE


70% of US Adults Unaware of Down Payment Assistance Programs for Middle Income Families 


(Courtesy of NeighborWorks America): A recent survey commissioned by NeighborWorks America found that 70 percent of U.S. adults are unaware of down-payment assistance programs available for middle-income homebuyers in their community.  That suggests that there are many people out there who either aren't buying at all when they could, are paying larger monthly mortgage payments than they needed to, or are settling for smaller homes than they could have afforded. MORE

Cost of Renting Exceeds Buying


(Courtesy of Housing Matters and Housing Wire): A Zillow analysis found that the average renter spends 29.9% of monthly income on housing, while the average homeowner spends 15.3%. "Despite rising home values, homeownership remains very accessible for buyers that can scrape together a down payment -- even if that down payment is relatively modest," said Stan Humphries, Zillow chief economist. MORE

NeighborWorks Names New CEO Paul Weech


(Courtesy of NeigborWorks America): Paul Weech, a longtime leader in the housing and community development field, was recently named president and CEO of NeighborWorks America by the organization's board of directors.Weech joins NeighborWorks America from the Housing Partnership Network, where he served as executive vice president for policy and external affairs. MORE


HUD and VA Announce Second Round of VASH Vouchers to Help Homeless Veterans


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently announced the second round of housing assistance to help 1,984 homeless veterans find permanent supportive housing.  The rental assistance is provided through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program which combines rental assistance from HUD with case management and clinical services provided by VA.  Georgia received 63 tenant-based vouchers through this new round of funding.  MORE


Fannie, Freddie to Allow Debt Cuts for Foreclosed Borrowers


(Courtesy of Bloomberg News): Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will let borrowers who have gone through foreclosure buy back their homes at market prices under a policy shift announced by the regulator for the two U.S.-owned companies. The change outlined by the Federal Housing Finance Agency in a  recent statement essentially gives some people who owe more than their homes are worth a way to cut mortgage debt. "This is a targeted, but important policy change that should help reduce property vacancies and stabilize home values and neighborhoods," FHFA Director Melvin L. Watt said in the agency's statement. MORE


Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Will Fund the National Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund


FHFA Director Mel Watt recently announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would begin to fund the National Housing Trust Fund (HTF) and the Capital Magnet Fund (CMF). The Housing and Economic Recovery Act required Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to set aside 4.2 basis points of each dollar of total new business purchases, which will begin Jan. 1, 2015. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will make this allocation within 60 days after the end of each fiscal year so funds should begin flowing to states in 2016. MORE


HUD and Treasury Make Enhancements to "Making Home Affordable"

HUD and the Department of Treasury recently announced changes to the Making Home Affordable (MHA) program. All homeowners in the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) can now earn $5,000 in the sixth year of their modification, in addition to the $5,000 they receive over the first five years of their modification, for making their payments on time. Additionally, homeowners can re-amortize the new lower mortgage amount and lower their monthly payment. MORE


Analysis: One-on-One Homeownership Counseling More Effective than Group Workshop

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia released a new study demonstrating the value of one-on-one homeownership counseling. The analysis shows that a two-hour pre-purchase homeownership workshop and one-on-one pre-purchase counseling improved the study participants' financial creditworthiness as they prepared to qualify for a home mortgage. However, the benefits from pre-purchase homeowner counseling and money management assistance for the study participants who received one-on-one counseling were generally greater in terms of credit scores, total debt, and various delinquency days on payments relative to the participants receiving workshop counseling only.  MORE


Are More Millennials Ready to Buy Homes?

(Courtesy of Housing Matters): The millennial generation -- those 18 to 35 years old -- will become the largest segment of U.S. homebuyers in 2015, predicts Zillow. Millennials aren't uninterested in buying homes but are delayed in doing so as they marry and have children later in life. The prediction has some in the mortgage industry scratching their heads, pointing to financial woes among millennials that are impeding their ability to buy. MORE


Importance of Homeowners in Urban Neighborhoods


(Courtesy of Shelterforce Weekly, Allan Mallach): Research makes a compelling case for the importance of homeownership not only for the individual, but for the neighborhood. A lot of this has to do with stability, or length of stay. The average homeowner in most cities lives in the same house for 15 or more years, the average renter, less than 3 years. This factor alone has a huge impact, independent of whether the family actually holds the title to the house they live in. If there were a way to dramatically increase the length of rental stays, that would almost certainly help not only renters and their families, but their neighborhoods. MORE





Share your calendar items with us! Please email Susan Adams at [email protected] with news of your upcoming events.


January 21, The Atlanta Regional Commission and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Georgia are partnering to host Building Opportunity: A Conversation on Poverty and Transportation Access in Metro Atlanta from 8:00 - 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 21 at the Loudermilk Center for the Regional Community.Registration is Free, but RSVP is Required.  Register online at https://buildingopportunity.eventbrite.com


January 24  Foreclosure Prevention and Home Buyer Fair sponsored by the Family Community Housing Association, Inc.  at UGA Cooperative Extension at 1400 Parker Road, Lobby A, Conyers, GA  30094. 9 AM to 5 PM.  To register, call 770-787-4436 or www.fchainc.org. 


February 20  United Way C3 Conference, Atlanta Marriott Marquis.  United Way's C3 Conference - Connecting for Community Change - is the only immersive conference in Atlanta connecting a diverse group of people who bring the passion, expertise and resources needed for positive, sustainable change.  Join more than 500 agents of community change including nonprofits, corporations and philanthropists across our 13-county region for a day of collaboration and innovation.  REGISTER



Susan Adams

Piece by Piece Coordinator