HAPEC, NeighborWorks complete housing study

— The Housing Assistance Program of Essex County, Inc., announced the results of new research on the effectiveness of NeighborWorks pre-purchase housing counseling and education.

It shows that homebuyers who received such advice were one-third less likely to fall behind on their mortgages 90 days or more, two years after taking out the loan, compared to homebuyers who didn’t receive similar counseling and education. The research was done for NeighborWorks America, a national nonprofit affiliated with HAPEC, by Neil Mayer and Associates and Experian, and is based on approximately 75,000 mortgage loans originated in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

“Mortgage delinquency and foreclosure rates continue to be stubbornly high throughout the country,” Alan Hipps, HAPEC Executive Director, said. “This new research clearly tells us what works to help families with their housing issues ahead of time, staving off family stress, financial difficulties and costs that are borne by neighbors and the municipalities,”

The research findings have important implications for HAPEC and the entire housing counseling and education industry.

“While we have long known anecdotally that pre-purchase housing counseling and education provided by certified professionals at the Housing Assistance Program is effective, this research confirms that we are helping to establish homeowners who are less likely to default.” said Hipps.

The research could also become an important tool for lenders in the Adirondacks. Homebuyers who receive NeighborWorks pre-purchase housing counseling and education are less likely to be 90 days or more past due on their mortgage. The likelihood of foreclosure or other default related costs are reduced, which has a direct bearing on a lender’s or servicer’s bottom line.

“Lenders appreciate our homebuyer program and the homebuyer education since the customers they receive from these programs are more knowledgeable and ready to purchase within their limits, know the expenses involved, are more likely to maintain their homes, and know where to find banks, realtors, and service vendors,” said Penny Daniels, a HAPEC Housing Counselor.

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