USMI president on making housing affordable
Today’s HousingWire Daily interview features a crossover episode from HousingWire’s Housing News podcast. In this episode, HousingWire’s Editor in Chief Sarah Wheeler interviews Lindsey Johnson, the president of USMI, about the unique challenges facing mortgage insurers and whether or not Biden’s proposed first-time homebuyer tax credit could change the need for private mortgage insurance.
Here is a small preview of the interview, which has been lightly edited for length and clarity:
Sarah Wheeler: The Biden administration’s focus on helping first-time homeowners and under-served borrowers has already resulted in a lot of legislative and executive action, and there is more to come. Regarding the proposed first-time homebuyer tax credit: would that be a game-changer for people with lower incomes or first-time homebuyers? And would it change the need for private mortgage insurance?
Lindsey Johnson: It’s important to know that homeownership has been on the rise in the past few years, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. As I mentioned before, a deeper look at who is becoming homeowners reveals just how difficult it can be for some homebuyers to break into the market. It highlights some of those racial and economic gaps that still exist. When we last looked, US Census data for the third quarter of 2020 showed homeownership among Whites was over 75%, compared to nearly 51% for Hispanic households, and 46% for Black households. This could indicate that minority borrowers who are qualified for home financing might encounter additional costs, as there are a number of barriers standing in the way for many of these borrowers. We also know COVID-19 has compounded the racial and economic gaps for millions of low to moderate-income families who lost their jobs, and they’re facing financial insecurity. Urban Institute and many other groups have looked at these issues and are finding that these borrowers are much more likely to face financial hardships and are at a much greater risk of not being able to pay their rent or their mortgage payment due to the impacts of the pandemic. So, we’ve got to focus on the pandemic, and its impact on borrowers and particularly minority borrowers. We know the Biden administration is doing that, and we are going to continue to support them in those efforts.
HousingWire Daily examines the most compelling articles reported from across HW Media newsrooms. Each afternoon, we provide our listeners with a deeper look into the stories coming across our news desk that are helping Move Markets Forward. Hosted by the HW team and produced by Alcynna Lloyd and Victoria Wickham.