FREDDIE MAC, AREAA, COUNTRYWIDE Team up with Nonprofits to help Asian Americans in Los Angeles Become Homeowners
(Los Angeles, CA) Thanks to a new homeownership initiative made possible by many organizations working together, Soo Han is the proud owner of a new home in Winnetka, Calif. Han is one of several individuals who have become
homeowners through a collaborative community effort to increase homeownership in the Korean American community in the greater Los Angeles area.
At a ceremony today at Youngnak Presbyterian Church, Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE) and the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) officially kicked off the homeownership initiative with Korean Churches for Community Development (KCCD), the Koreatown Youth and Community Center (KYCC), Countrywide Home Loans and Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation (MGIC).
This homeownership initiative, which began last year, addresses language and cultural barriers, lack of knowledge about the homebuying process and other challenges faced by Asian Americans. These barriers are keeping many Asian
Americans from pursuing their dream of homeownership.
"Through KCCD's Homebuyer Education program, I realized how important having knowledge can be for first-time homebuyers," said Han. "With the help of KCCD's counseling program, I was able to purchase my first home with more than $138,000 of layered financing and downpayment assistance and at a five percent fixed interest rate."
"What better definition of 'The American Dream' exists than that of owning your own home?" asked Rep. Xavier Becerra (CA-31). "But unfortunately for far too many people in the 31st congressional district, that dream has been
squelched by high costs and confusing processes. So when I learned of this new program that addresses language and cultural barriers by offering education and counseling, I was immediately supportive and appreciative that these altruistic non-profits and well-intentioned corporations recognized this priority."
In the last three months, AREAA has trained more than 400 real estate professionals in California about the unique needs of the Asian American homebuyer. This has ultimately helped countless individuals find homes. AREAA members are helping prospective homebuyers locate properties and are working with the local nonprofits and lenders to become more familiar with the products and services each offers to improve service in these communities. In addition, KCCD has provided housing counseling and homebuyer education to 3,500 individuals.
"AREAA is honored to support this effort to ensure that more Korean Americans achieve the dream of homeownership in the Los Angeles area. By working with KCCD, KYCC, Countrywide and Freddie Mac, we can leverage the vast net-work of real estate practitioners serving the Korean American community to help more families get into their first homes," said Allen M. Okamoto, Chairman of AREAA.
"Homeownership initiatives like this one help the mortgage industry to better understand and reach this burgeoning market," said Robert Tsien, Freddie Mac's senior vice president of Expanding Markets. "By working closely with
trusted advisors in the community, like AREAA, KYCC, KCCD, Countrywide and MGIC, we are all helping more families get on the path to owning a home."
Countrywide Home Loans' bilingual loan officers have answered questions and provided mortgage information, including the features of their flexible, affordable mortgage products, and products with low downpayment features.
As one of the nation's largest investors in residential mortgages, Freddie Mac will purchase eligible mortgage loans from Countrywide.
"As Countrywide expands to serve Asian communities and raise awareness of the home loan process, more homebuyers than ever before are able to take advantage of Countrywide's founding belief that every person deserves the
opportunity to own a home," said Mary Salinas Durn, Countrywide's executive vice president of national multicultural sales. "Countrywide is eager to demonstrate its commitment to lowering the barriers to homeownership and simplifying the home finance experience as we continue to build our name in Asian communities."
Flexible, low downpayment mortgages are possible due to the participation of mortgage insurer MGIC.
"Koreatown Youth and Community Center is committed to promoting socioeconomic empowerment, and is delighted participate in this initiative with AREAA, Countrywide, KCCD and Freddie Mac to help Korean Americans pursue their dream of home ownership," said Johng Ho Song, KYCC executive director. "Many recent immigrants face barriers due to language and cultural differences, but with the assistance of this initiative, Korean American residents in Southern California will be able to successfully overcome these barriers and achieve their piece of the American Dream."
"As the premiere organization that has provided in-language homebuyer education to the Korean American Community, Korean Churches for Community Development is honored to be part of this exciting initiative that will be expanding services to the community. The overwhelming turnout of over 1,000 participants at our recent homeownership fair demonstrates that the dream of homeownership and the desire for resources and assistance in purchasing a home is very much alive in our community," said Hyepin C. Im, president of KCCD. "We are appreciative of Freddie Mac's continued support and partnership with KCCD in bringing homeownership resources and opportunities to the Korean community. With the low homeownership rate in our community, we are pleased to be working with strategic partners like AREAA, Countrywide and KYCC to introduce new resources and to spread the good news that homeownership is possible."
"The key to this initiative is education," said Geoffrey Cooper, Director - Emerging Markets, at Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation (MGIC), the nation's leading private mortgage insurer. "Borrowers are working through
trusted advisors in their community to receive invaluable homebuyer education and counseling prior to buying a home. As a result, these borrowers will be not only attain homeownership, but they will be prepared to maintain
homeownership for the long term."
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Asians are the second fastest growing ethnic population in the U.S. and number 13.5 million, or approximately five percent of the total U.S. population. The U.S. homeownership rate for Koreans is 41 percent, compared to 72 percent for non-minorities.
The next homeownership classes are August 12 and 26, and Sept. 9 and 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The classes will be held at KCCD's offices at 3550 Wilshire Blvd., Ste 922, Los Angeles. For more information, please contact
KCCD at 213-216-7053.
Freddie Mac is a stockholder-owned company established by Congress in 1970 to support homeownership and rental housing. Freddie Mac fulfills its mission by purchasing residential mortgages and mortgage-related securities,
which it finances primarily by issuing mortgage-related securities and debt instruments in the capital markets. Over the years, Freddie Mac has made home possible for one in six homebuyers and more than four million renters in America. For more information about Freddie Mac,visit http://www.freddiemac.com/