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A New Program To Assist First-Time Homebuyers
Studies show the dream of homeownership is becoming a reality for a growing number of
For example, according to the 2005 Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies State of the
Nation's Housing Report, minorities are making inroads into all housing market segments
across the United States.
This trend is expected to continue with minorities making up a growing share of the
homeowner population with each successive generation. The study reveals that nearly 35
percent of all first-time homebuyers are minorities and more than 40 percent of all renters are
minorities-these could be or will be the homeowners of the future.
Companies in the housing and mortgage industries are taking notice of this trend and are
making efforts to meet the needs of today's prospective homebuyers.
"Mortgage lenders need to have people who reflect the communities they serve located in the
neighborhoods that we want to serve if we want to inspire people to become first-time
homeowners," said Jackson Cosey, senior vice president of Emerging Markets for Wells Fargo
For instance, Wells Fargo recently introduced a program designed to help serve consumers
with down payment difficulties or lack of traditional credit history by helping them qualify for
loans they can afford.
Called the Home OpportunitiesSM program, it includes qualifying debt-to-income ratios that
address the growing reality that homeowners need to spend a greater percentage of their
income on housing.
Also, it provides for nontraditional credit references that enable consumers who do not have
traditional or lengthy credit histories to qualify for the program. In addition, flexibility on down
payments and closing costs allows customers to purchase a home without a down payment.
"Home-financing options such as this program will allow more people including first-time
homebuyers and low- to moderate- income borrowers to do something they have onl