Center served more than 22,000 homebuyer clients and helped more than 500 households to successfully avoid foreclosure.

With the unusual nature of 2020, and the direct impact that everything from lockdowns to foreclosure moratoriums and mortgage forbearance had on homebuyers and homeowners, we were unsure what our annual data audit would reflect with regard to our Network’s interaction with consumers. Upon completion, and perhaps surprisingly, the final tally indicated a continued upward trend in the number of households we serve each year. As relief programs begin to phase out, we expect these numbers to continue increasing as we guide homeowners facing financial difficulty in preserving their hard-earned investment, and educate those in a position to buy to achieve success and sustainability in owning their own home.

During 2020, the Center worked with 22,378 homebuying clients and helped 533 homeowner households to successfully avoid foreclosure. On the homebuying side, while classroom (including virtual classroom) homebuyer education was down 25 percent, homebuyer advising and financial wellness counseling both increased by 16 percent. Among these clients, 89 percent would become first-time homebuyers upon purchase, and one-in-five would be the first generation of their family to own their own home. Additional key stats of note include the fact that 63 percent of clients were households of color, and 81 percent had household incomes in the low- to moderate range for their area of residence. These numbers indicate continuing success against our mission of promoting and advancing successful homeownership in Minnesota with an emphasis on serving those facing the greatest barriers to homeownership: lower income households and communities of color.

On the foreclosure prevention side during 2020, the Center began working with 568 new homeowner clients – a decrease in new cases of 36 percent from 2019, likely due to the availability of mortgage forbearance as, statewide, pre-foreclosure notices fell 67 percent year-over-year. 637 open client cases reached completion during 2020, with 533 successfully avoiding foreclosure – a success rate of 84 percent. According to U.S. Government statistics, each foreclosure avoided saves $79,443. Thus our work contributed to more than $42 million in avoided expenses and losses during 2020 alone, which accrued to homeowners, lenders/servicers, local government entities and neighbors via more stable property values. As is obviously demonstrated, foreclosure prevention is in everyone’s best interest. Since 2008, the Minnesota Homeownership Center has worked with homeowners to successfully prevent more than 38,500 foreclosures – a collective financial value of nearly $3.1 billion.

The full 2020 Consumer Services Report, which includes Center president Julie Gugin’s annual ‘year-in-review’ communication, is available on the Center’s website here. Looking forward, the 2021 report could be even more interesting as the pandemic’s full impact on homeownership continues to develop. We look forward to sharing those results with you next summer.