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Minority homeownership gap – the sobering statistics

Abelyan praised the availability of down payment assistance, even though his company does not offer the resource. Still, Cake Mortgage is keen on helping lenders with less-than-perfect credit, even though the paperwork might be more arduous, he said.

“Down payment assistance is a great program,” he said. “Unfortunately, the way a lot of grant assistance programs work is they’re grants, so that money runs out. It’s great for the people who are able to get it, but there is also a huge subset of the market that can do 3% down, 3.5% down. We don’t do any down payment assistance right now because our model is focused on the 3%, 3.5% down. It’s not something that we currently offer. It’s something that we’re exploring, but again being in that lower FICO band of 500 to 620 we’re really looking to cater to those people that have re-established themselves, maybe have a small amount saved up for a down payment, that we can help out.”

Christensen noted that down payment assistance grants aren’t for everyone, and it is a finite resource. “The hope is that the more minorities we are able to get into sustainable homes then they can transfer their equity to the next generation, so maybe the next generation doesn’t need down payment assistance. Maybe grandma can give the next gen $10,000 or $20,000 to get themselves started. We can start to change generational tide that way and build a solid foundation.”

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For Christensen, homeownership is an innate part of her existence. You might say it’s tied to her DNA. The first homeowner in her family, her great-great-grandfather Henderson Fairbault was enslaved by the age of nine but began to amass property after being freed while working at a restaurant in Hillsboro, N.C. When he died in 1902, he had 50 acres of land, and was able to leave a home to each of his children. “That’s what started the generational homeownership in my family,” Christensen said with palpable pride.

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