Homeownership Opportunity Initiative

Early in 1998, the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust launched the Homeownership Opportunity Initiative (HOI), a single family mortgage program targeted to union members and public employees in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii. Recognizing that the economic benefits of homeownership create one of the best avenues for working families to increase their wealth, the HIT sought through HOI to provide a model for expanding homeownership opportunities for union households.

The HIT partnered with Fannie Mae and HomeStreet Bank to offer the following favorable mortgage terms while maintaining prudent underwriting standards:

  • Permanent buydown of .50% on mortgage loans requiring only a 3% down payment. The savings amounted to $18,000 on a $150,000 loan held for ten years.
  • Preferential mortgage insurance premium. The savings for a typical borrower were $3,000 over ten years on a $150,000 loan.
  • Flexible underwriting ratios and closing cost savings.
  • Homebuyer education and credit counseling through partners. Matched savings program through Federal Home Loan Bank.
  • Market rate FHA products also available, with reduced closing costs.

During the five years that the HIT actively sponsored this initiative, it purchased more than $120 million in mortgage securities through the HOI, representing approximately 700 mortgage loans to union and public employee households in Washington State, Oregon, and Hawaii. Subsequently, HomeStreet Bank continued to maintain the special HOI mortgage loan program for union members in those states.