Study: Housing Counseling Demand Reaches Record Levels

Counseling referrals through the first quarter of 2013 it at record levels, according to a study conducted by MortgageKeeper Referral Services.

Homeowners received more than 300,000 requests for local assistance through the first three months of 2013, as outlined in MortgageKeeper’s Homeowner Needs Status Report. 

So far, referrals are up 41% more than they were for the same period last year, with most of the demand coming from housing and credit counseling, assistance with utility, food, prescription costs, and employment resources. 

Reverse mortgages only represented 97 of the 300,000 referrals, or 0.03%, a MortgageKeeper spokeswoman told RMD in an email. 

The record-hitting levels of referrals, according to MortgageKeeper, make it clear that even though the housing market is recovering, thousands of homeowners are still in need of assistance.

“While the housing crisis is clearly easing, people still need help,” said Rochelle Nawrocki Gorey, president of MortgageKeeper Referral Services. “We are grateful for a stronger housing market, but many homeowners are still underemployed, facing negative equity, or need assistance in securing a smooth transition to rental housing.”

Counselors and servicers who subscribe to MortgageKeeper’s database provide struggling homeowners with a list of researched nonprofit and government agencies. Agencies are often located close to homeowners, helping them reduce their monthly expenses and channel this savings into their home loan. 

Housing counseling was recently “OK’ed” in the Obama Administration’s FY 2014 Budget released earlier this week with a $55 million appropriation in funds for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

Although federal funding is more than the $42 million appropriated last year, there is still some lingering uncertainty as to how the budget will impact counseling agencies in the coming months.  

Written by Jason Oliva

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