Free five-day event offers low-cost mortgages in Honolulu
By Andrew Gomes – Honolulu Star-Advertiser
July 6, 2018
A Boston-based nonprofit backed by two national lenders is offering no-fee home mortgages with below-market interest rates for Hawaii residents at a free five-day event that starts today in Honolulu.
The “Achieve the Dream” event, which runs 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Tuesday at the Hawai‘i Convention Center, is being held by NACA, a homeownership counseling and advocacy organization.
NACA, also known as the Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America, began promoting its mortgages at similar events in other major cities earlier this year, and plans to establish an office in Honolulu to continue offering services after the special event.
The organization, which helps prepare people for homeownership, is preapproving borrowers for mortgages that require no down payment and offer fixed interest rates below market level regardless of an individual’s credit score.
“If you can afford your rent, then you can afford to buy,” said NACA spokesman Tim Trumble.
Interest rates under the NACA mortgages are 4 percent for a 30-year loan, which is about 0.125 percentage points below the best rate from local lenders and 0.5 percentage points below the national average in a Freddie Mac survey. NACA loans also are free of loan origination fees, discount point fees and closing costs that typically include an appraisal fee, title report fee and other things. Private mortgage insurance also is not required.
Trumble said people who do have savings for a down payment can use that money to buy down the interest rate as far as to virtually zero.
There are some traditional costs that a NACA borrower is required to pay, such as the cost for a home inspection and homeowner’s insurance.
“NACA’s homeownership program may sound too good, but it is the reality for many thousands of NACA homeowners,” Bruce Marks, the organization’s founder and CEO, said in a statement.
NACA said it has $13 billion committed from Bank of America and CitiMortgage for its mortgage program and is committing $100 million initially for Hawaii borrowers.
The NACA mortgage program is focused on people with low to moderate incomes but isn’t limited to only this group. Some restrictions do apply, such as a borrower cannot own another property, and a borrower must occupy the home for as long as they have the mortgage.
The organization is an outgrowth of a hotel workers union in Boston and was established 30 years ago with a focus to help union members afford homes. During the national mortgage market meltdown that exploded about a decade ago and left scores of homeowners with subprime loans they couldn’t afford, NACA became heavily involved in loan modification work and is a counseling agency approved by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Now NACA is making new loans with the help of Bank of America and CitiMortgage.
NACA held a special workshop last month for members of the Unite Here Local 5 union, which represents many Hawaii hotel workers. The broader public event that starts today is part of a series held in other cities that has drawn more than 5,000 participants, including one in Miami in March where about 10,000 people attended, the organization said.