More than 1.2 million mortgages could be made if credit conditions and requirements were at traditional, pre-crisis levels, according to a new paper from the Urban Institute. It focuses on the challenges minority households face in the new credit environment, noting that African-American and Hispanic households are disproportionately impacted by the reduced access to credit.
The inaccessibility trend is occurring at exactly the point in the economic cycle that favors new homeownership, notes Laurie Goodman of the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute. "The number of new mortgage loans is at its lowest in more than a decade and borrowers with low FICO scores are shut out," she writes. Martin Gruenberg, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., echoed her sentiments on minority borrowers during his address at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition annual conference in Washington, D.C., on March 14.