The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the issues around affordable housing and access to it. In particular, the pandemic has disproportionately impacted housing opportunities for individuals and communities of color. Millions of jobs have been lost, and a lot of those jobs will not be coming back.
Freddie Mac’s forbearance results have shown that many who have been delinquent or have fallen behind in their payments for more than 60 days have taken advantage of forbearance options provided by the CARES Act. Many of those individuals have either come current on their mortgage or chosen a payment deferral option to remove some of the financial issues that they’re facing around their mortgages today.
In addition to the current economic hardships related to COVID-19, supply and demand is a significant obstacle to affordable housing. Freddie Mac’s research has shown that there is about a 2.5 million unit shortage of single-family homes in the country today, a shortage that’s not going to be made up anytime soon.
As Freddie Mac looks into providing solutions to help first-time homebuyers and others navigating the process for homeownership, other opportunities such as manufactured housing or modular homes could potentially help fill some of that affordability and housing gap over the next couple of years.
Many underserved communities also have an income and wealth gap. Freddie Mac stresses the importance of providing low down payment mortgage options and to connect individuals with down payment assistance programs.
As part of its outreach efforts, Freddie Mac works with state and local housing finance agencies, as well as real estate professionals, loan officers and nonprofit organizations. The organization has also bolstered its communication efforts in providing information related to forbearance and other alternatives to support the individual homeowner.
For more information and resources, visit Freddie Mac’s website at SF.FreddieMac.com and look at the #HelpStartsHere area of the site.