Pre-purchase financial counseling is getting better all the time, at least that’s what the latest analysis by Freddie Mac shows.

In fact, pre-purchase counseling may reduce the likelihood of a first-time homebuyer becoming seriously delinquent by 29%.

By contrast, an earlier study of similar mortgages financed in the ‘90s estimated that pre-purchase counseling for first-time buyers reduced serious delinquencies by an average of 19%.

Furthermore, the new analysis estimates the reduction in delinquency risk also means pre-purchase counseling for first-time buyers can save the lending industry an average of $1,000 per loan – not a bad way to save a few extra bucks.

Freddie Mac's senior economic researchers Hoa Nguyen and Gabriela Avila along with the GSE's vice president of housing analysis and research Peter Zorn studied affordable mortgages that required originators to provide pre-purchase homeownership counseling for most borrowers.

What did the economists discover?

The analysis found that the 90-day delinquency rate was reduced by 33% on average through home study counseling, 32% by phone or Internet counseling and 28% by classroom counseling.

"The findings about phone/Internet counseling are especially striking since the earlier study found no evidence that phone counseling reduced credit risk at all," the GSE said.

Furthermore, the findings also suggest pre-purchase counseling has a significantly larger impact on 90-day delinquency rates among first-time buyers when compared to repeat buyers, a segment where it reduced seriously delinquency rates by only 6%.

The bottom line: Pre-purchase counseling is an effective move for first-time buyers and the industry that finances such mortgages.

cmlynski@housingwire.com