Foreclosures And Minorities

"The housing boom of the last decade helped push minority home ownership rates above 50 percent for the first time in 2004," according to a New York Times article.

Subprime lending allowed those who perhaps couldn't truly afford homes to buy them anyway. Now that interest rates are readjusting and mortgage payments are skyrocketing, many people are being forced out of their homes.

"The increase in foreclosures could be the first of a wave of financial distress for many minority homeowners, experts say, because they are twice as likely as whites to have taken out expensive subprime mortgages," according to the article.

"Neighborhoods where the population is more than 80 percent non-white account for 65 percent of all cases" of foreclosure activity, according to the article, which cites data from the National Training and Information Center. "The same trends have been documented in Atlanta and Philadelphia, according to researchers from Harvard and the Reinvestment Fund."

"For all the talk of expanding opportunities to the less well-off [by providing mortgages to borrowers with low income and little to no down payment or credit history], experts note that the gap between minority and white home ownership remains unchanged from a decade ago at about 25 percentage points," according to the article.

"Minorities are far more likely to receive subprime loans than whites. About 30 percent of home purchase loans made to blacks from 1999 to 2004 and 20 percent of home loans made to Hispanics were subprime," according to the article. These are the homeowners whose mortgages are readjusting, who can no longer afford their monthly mortgage payments, who are facing foreclosure.

What really needs to be expanded--to minority communities especially--is personal finance education. People need to understand how to save, borrow and invest responsibly. Many people who are now facing foreclosure didn't understand the situation they were getting themselves into when they signed those mortgage documents.

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