Next Step and Freddie Mac Expand Manufactured Housing Education and Counseling Program

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (STL.News) – Next Step® Network and Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today announced that they have expanded their SmartMHSM program – a collaboration with online homebuyer education platform eHome America – to Texas and Mississippi. The organizations are focused on recruiting more lenders, manufactured housing retailers, and housing counselors to participate in the manufactured housing marketplace and broaden access to resources for prospective home buyers in those states. The program began in November 2016 in Kentucky.

“Our collective efforts will help increase borrower access to quality, yet affordable homes across Texas and Mississippi and especially in markets that have traditionally been underserved,” said Danny Gardner, Senior Vice President, Affordable Lending and Access to Credit at Freddie Mac. “Manufactured homes are an important and growing source of affordable housing and the SmartMH program helps increases lender participation, while at the same time broadening access to homebuyer education and housing counseling for individuals and families in these states.”

Lenders and manufactured housing retail sales centers that are part of the SmartMH program engage with prospective home buyers who want to purchase a manufactured home by helping navigate them to a HUD-certified, nonprofit housing counseling organization that provides access to a homebuyer education course specific to factory-built housing. These lenders then work directly with prospective home buyers, getting them pre-approved to purchase a modern, energy-efficient manufactured home.

“Factory-built homes offer an affordable, sustainable homeownership solution for hardworking individuals and families,” said Stacey Epperson, President & Founder of Next Step. “Those organizations and businesses involved in the SmartMH program are dedicated to supporting home buyers, getting them financial pre-approval to purchase a modern, energy-efficient manufactured home.”

The SmartMH program connects qualified homebuyers with financial institutions and manufactured home retailers to increase access to affordable, ENERGY STAR® manufactured homes with fair financing. Freddie Mac has partnered with Next Step to grow the SmartMH program, while improving access to credit for prepared, manufactured home buyers.

News Facts:

The SmartMH program currently includes 25 lending institutions, 410 manufactured housing retail sales centers, and eight HUD-certified nonprofit housing counseling organizations. Learn more at www.nextstepus.org/smartmh.
To date, more than 1,150 individuals have enrolled in the SmartMH program, gaining access to counseling, credit rebuilding services, financial literary courses and homebuyer education specific to factory-built housing.
Manufactured housing is the largest source of unsubsidized affordable housing in the U.S.
With the limited supply of homes under $200,000, manufactured housing provides crucial housing stock for very low-, low- and moderate-income borrowers, borrowers in underserved markets and rural areas.
The average price of a manufactured home is $71,300, while the average price of a site-built home is $379,316, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Manufactured housing accounts for six percent of all occupied housing. In 112 U.S. counties—predominately in Southern and Western states—over one-third of homes are manufactured housing, according to a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) white paper titled “Manufactured-housing consumer finance in the United States.”

About Next Step® Network

Next Step Network mobilizes a national network of mission-driven nonprofits, leaders in the manufactured housing industry and lending institutions serving home buyers and homeowners in their communities. Next Step’s system – Manufactured Housing Done Right® – connects responsible financing, comprehensive homebuyer education and delivery of high-quality, ENERGY STAR® manufactured homes at scale, creating a model that brings more value to the customer. Learn more at www.nextstepus.org.

About Freddie Mac

Freddie Mac makes home possible for millions of families and individuals by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Since our creation by Congress in 1970, we’ve made housing more accessible and affordable for homebuyers and renters in communities nationwide. We are building a better housing finance system for homebuyers, renters, lenders and taxpayers. Learn more at FreddieMac.com, Twitter @FreddieMac and Freddie Mac’s blog FreddieMac.com/blog.

About eHome America

eHome Network was developed beginning in 2008 to help clients who needed homebuyer education to access high quality content without having to travel to a homeownership counseling agency for classes. It invested significant resources in developing multimedia content, thorough testing, and sophisticated management tools for its agency partners. For more information, visit ehomeamerica.org/.