Restoring Tucson’s homeownership rate is pilot project’s goal

By VIP MortgageOctober 20, 2014Home Loans, News

Tucson was chosen as the pilot city for a community program to help more people become homeowners.

Ready, Set, Own was created to provide potential homebuyers with information and resources they need to start the process of buying a home, says the program’s sponsor, Philadelphia-based private mortgage insurer Radian Guaranty Inc.

Participants will be paired with local credit counselors and mortgage lenders to create a personalized step-by-step plan to purchase a home. Assistance will be provided with the qualification process, credit and debt issues, and with establishing a downpayment savings plan.

So far, local partners of the program — which will serve as mentors — include Primavera Foundation, Habitat for Humanity Tucson, Family Housing Resources, Chicanos por la Causa, Nova Home Loans and V.I.P. Mortgage.

In its role through the program, Habitat for Humanity Tucson will continue what it normally does by educating people and preparing them for homeownership, said its CEO, T. VanHook.

If a person does not qualify to buy a house through Habitat for Humanity, he or she will be referred to another Ready, Set, Own partner.

“We are working together and collaborating to make sure all Tucsonans have the opportunity to purchase a home,” VanHook said. “It’s Habitat’s mission to get people into safe, decent housing. It’s critical to the community.”

Radian Guaranty provides private mortgage insurance, which by insuring lenders against the risk of default, enables consumers to purchase a home with less than a 20 percent down payment.

Although the program is sponsored by Radian, it is not meant to steer people toward mortgage insurance exclusively, Radian CEO S.A. Ibrahim said in an emailed statement.

“It will be a decision that the potential homeowner makes with their Ready, Set, Own mentor partners,” Ibrahim said.

Tucson was chosen as the pilot city because of how hard its housing market was hit during the recession, with the homeownership rate falling to less than 50 percent, Radian said.

The long-term goal of the program is to restore the local homeownership rate to 55 percent — the average homeownership level before the recession.

The national rate is 64.7 percent.


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