Fannie Mae announces new resources and assistance programs to address Latino homeownership access

Government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) Fannie Mae announced on Wednesday that it will launch new programs and resources designed to tackle the homeownership gap experienced by the Latino community, designed to “to provide responsible access to housing and long-term sustainable homeownership opportunities.”

The company also announced an expansion of its Special Purpose Credit Program (SPCP) pilot to provide downpayment assistance to eligible first-time homebuyers living in majority-Latino communities. 

These include Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis, and Philadelphia, with expansion to additional cities including those with large Latino populations in early 2024.

In alignment with the 2022 launch of HomeView, which offers a free online course with modules to guide consumers through homeownership, Fannie Mae announced Wednesday that the program is now available with Spanish-language content, described as a “digital consumer education platform providing 24/7 end-to-end access to information about financial literacy and homeownership.”

The course is designed for Latino consumers to use on their own, or in concert with trusted advisors who may assist them with decisions related to homeownership.

“HomeView en Español features a new in-language credit education course with content tailored to help Latino consumers effectively build and manage their credit – a critical component to access the traditional homebuying process,” the announcement said. “Thin or insufficient credit history is a challenge disproportionately faced by Latino renters and first-time homebuyers, according to Fannie Mae’s Latino Housing Journey research.”

The course itself was created and written by Spanish speakers, is free to everyone who registers and is designed to be taken on any mobile, desktop or tablet device. The course includes short quizzes and audio clips designed to appeal to a variety of people who learn differently while also increasing information retention, and is customized to address “key hurdles and challenges experienced by Latino consumers establishing or maintaining their credit.”

Additional HomeView enhancements are expected in 2024, the company said.

Research from the Urban Institute indicates that as much as 70% of net-new homeowners between 2020 and 2040 will be Hispanic/Latino, representing “one of the fastest-growing segments of potential homeowners.” But these consumers face disproportionate obstacles including a lack of affordable housing supply, insufficient credit and higher relative up-front housing costs.

“Fannie Mae is focused on knocking down these obstacles so that historic housing disparities can be addressed, and more borrowers can equitability access affordable housing and long-term housing stability,” the GSE said.

“We want to help people get into and stay in their homes for a long time,” said Fannie Mae CEO Priscilla Almodovar. “Downpayment assistance and homeownership education can help the Latino community and achieve both goals. We will continue to work closely with the Latino community to craft solutions to the barriers Latinos face on their housing journey.”

The company added that as of Wednesday morning, a new “strategies for healthy credit” course is now available in Spanish.