Empowering Communities Through Access to Homeownership – Tampa Bay Times | Vette Leader

By Larry Stephens

During National Homeownership Month, we are reminded that home ownership continues to be the American Dream for people across the country. Many see home ownership as a cornerstone in building generational wealth and an important factor in creating long-term financial stability for individuals and their families.

Homeownership not only transforms the lives of buyers, it revitalizes communities into places where people want to live and work. at Hancock Whitney, We’ve seen firsthand how homeownership empowers neighborhoods and cities. Owners are beginning to take ownership of their neighborhoods, leading to stability and a sense of pride and identity—all important components of strong, enduring communities. In addition, homeownership boosts the local economy and strengthens local schools because homeowners want to see their friends and neighbors succeed.

While home ownership is at the top of many people’s financial wish lists, several factors remain influencing the fulfillment of those dreams – rising costs, declining supply, and the lingering impact of historical inequalities in wealth, income, and access to credit.

The national home ownership rate is just under 66 percent! While that means nearly two-thirds of homeowners are homeowners, there’s still work to be done — especially for black homeowners, whose homeownership rate is 43.4 percent, a rate lower than it was a decade ago!

Door opener for living dreams

As a financial institution, but more importantly as a member of the communities we serve, we take our role in the homeownership journey seriously and invest time and resources to support homeownership equality.

There is no one size fits all answer for prospective homeowners as each person and situation is unique. That’s why we strive to provide innovative products, services and resources that open different paths to home ownership.

Through specialized lending products, we expand access to prospective homebuyers in minority communities through our Opportunity Mortgage Loan and help current homeowners use the equity in their homes to cover expenses such as renovations or emergencies through our Home Equity Line of Credit.

We believe it is crucial that first-time home buyers are given the guidance they need to navigate through the buying process. Plan Your Way Home, a program designed for first-time buyers, connects homebuyers to programs that can put the dream of home ownership within reach—including credit counseling, down payment and closing help, bond money programs and more.

We also ensure that individuals have access to homebuyer preparation programs and financial literacy to help them understand the mortgage process, the benefits of homeownership, the power of home equity, and the various assistance programs available to help them achieve their dreams . Through our ongoing partnerships with local organizations, we conduct in-person and virtual training across our footprint to provide additional support and guidance.

Partnerships for diversity and advocacy

Promoting diverse home ownership requires collaboration and real investment of time, money and expertise from diverse community stakeholders. At Hancock Whitney, we’re a piece of the puzzle, looking for like-minded community partners who can help reach out and build trust in previously underserved communities – communities that believe homeownership is not an option for them. Council housing partners, reclamation agencies, affordable housing developers and real estate agents are key partners in helping our friends and neighbors achieve their dream of home ownership.

During Homeownership Month and always, we’re proud to work with our partners to be at the forefront of making dreams come true, whether it’s a family moving into their first home or an individual who is gaining the confidence needed to take the first step in the home buying journey.

Sources

1. “The US homeownership rate is experiencing its largest annual increase on record, although black home ownership rates remain lower than they were a decade ago, according to NAR analysis.” nar.brokerMay 22, 2022 https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/us-homeownership-rate-experiences-largest-annual-increase-on-record-though-black-homeownership-remains-lower-on-decade-or

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