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Strengthening Communities Through Homeownership Access

Larry Stephens
June 15, 2022

Owning a home continues to be the American Dream for people across the nation. Many consider homeownership the cornerstone of building generational wealth and an important factor to creating long-term financial stability for individuals and their families.

Not only is homeownership life changing for buyers, it vitalizes communities into places where people want to live and work. At Hancock Whitney, we’ve seen first-hand how homeownership strengthens neighborhoods and towns. Owners begin to take stake in their neighborhoods, leading to stability and a sense of pride and identity all of which are critical components to strong, lasting communities. Further, homeownership fuels local economies and strengthens local schools because homeowners want to see their friends and neighbors succeed.

Happy family posing on the couch together at home in the living room

While the goal of home ownership tops the financial wish list for many people, there remain several factors influencing fulfillment of those dreams – rising costs, diminished supply, as well as lingering effects of historic inequalities in wealth, income and access to credit.

The national homeownership rate hovers just below 66 percent1. While this means nearly two-thirds of home occupants are owners, there is still much work to do—especially for Black homeowners whose homeownership rate is 43.4 percent, a rate lower than a decade ago1.

Opening the door to homeownership dreams

As a financial institution, but most importantly as a member of the communities we serve, we take our role in the journey to home ownership seriously, investing time and resources to support homeownership equality.

There is no one-size-fits all answer for potential homeowners because each person and each situation is unique, so we strive to provide innovative products, services and resources that create various pathways to homeownership.

Through specialized lending products, we are expanding access to prospective homebuyers in minority communities through our Opportunity Mortgage Loan and helping current homeowners leverage the equity in their homes to cover expenses such as renovations or emergencies through our Home Equity Line of Credit.

We believe it is vital that first-time homebuyers have the guidance they need to navigate through the buying process. Plan Your Way Home, a program designed with first-time purchasers in mind, connects homebuyers with programs that can put homeownership dreams within reach including credit counseling, down payment and closing cost assistance, bond money programs and more.

We’re also ensuring individuals have access to homebuyer readiness programs and financial education to help them understand the mortgage process, the benefits of owning a home, the power of home equity and the various assistance programs available to make their dreams reality. Through our ongoing partnerships with local organizations, we lead in-person and virtual education sessions throughout our footprint in an effort to provide additional support and guidance.

Partnering for diversity and advocacy

Advancing diverse homeownership takes collaboration and true investment in time, dollars and expertise from various community stakeholders. At Hancock Whitney, we are one piece of the puzzle, and seek out like-minded community partners who can help reach and build trust with previously underserved communities—communities who may believe homeownership is not an option for them. Community housing partners, redevelopment agencies, affordable housing developers and real estate brokers are all vital partners to help our friends and neighbors achieve the dream of homeownership.

We’re proud to work with our partners to be at the forefront of making dreams come true, whether it’s a family moving into their first home or an individual gaining the confidence they need to take the first step on the home buying journey.

 

Sources

1. "U.S. Homeownership Rate Experiences Largest Annual Increase on Record, Though Black Homeownership Remains Lower Than a Decade Ago, NAR Analysis Finds," nar.realtor, May 22, 2022 https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/u-s-homeownership-rate-experiences-largest-annual-increase-on-record-though-black-homeownership-remains-lower-than-decade-ago