Monday, September 25, 2006
Updated Calendar of Classes
The Coalition's new calendar of homebuyer education classes is now available online
. This calendar includes October 2006 through December 2007 and is in PDF format.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
An adjustable rate mortgage resets when the initial interest rate is adjusted after a period of time. Many adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) reset after two or three years, usually causing the interest rate (and the monthly payment) to increase. In 2005, $100 billion of loans reset. In 2006, $375 billion are expected to reset. 2007? It is expected that $1 trillion of mortgage loans will reset in 2007. Add to that the claim that $150 billion of the $670 billion
first quarter mortgages were interest only ARMs, and the future doesn't look too good. What does this mean? A lot of people will be surprised when their mortgage payments suddenly rise! Many will be caught off-guard and unable to afford their new payments. I was speaking with someone the other day whose payment went up $200/month. It makes a budget a much more precarious thing when one line item shoots up that much. If your ARM is going to reset, start to prepare now. Make sure your credit is such that you can refinance into a fixed rate loan. If your credit isn't there, start working on it! If its too late to do that, now is still not too soon to start working on your credit so that you can escape the situation you are in as soon as possible. ARMs and interest only mortgages can certainly fill a need, but they are really best geared toward people who have money to risk. If your money is tight, don't plan on an ARM or an interest only mortgage to get you through when times get even a little bit rocky. They are higher risk mortgages.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Employer Assisted Housing in DeKalb
Brian Grainger Construction
of DeKalb recently held an informational meeting for DeKalb area businesses that discussed an exciting opportunity to provide housing assistance to employees. Grainger is working with the REACH-IL program
to offset the costs of providing downpayment assistance. This allows employees to receive up to $10,000 in downpayment assistance ($5,000 from the employer, $5,000 from the State) while the employer receives up to $2,500 in state tax credits and the possibility of donation write-offs on federal taxes. Grainger is also working with the USDA to provide Rural Services loans to his employees. These loans can go as low as 1%, depending on family size, income, and expenses.
Grainger's proposal to local businesses includes assisting employers as they put these programs together to provide affordable housing to their employees. In addition, however, Grainger is going one step further by providing a $2,000 bonus to companies whose employees purchase a Brian Grainger-built townhouse. When all is said and done, this bonus from Grainger covers the rest of the out of pocket expenses that an employer would have to spend on the program. This results in an employee benefit program that has no cost
to the employer.
In Grainger's proposal he was able to show that qualifying families could purchase a $162,000 townhouse with a monthly payment (for the first year) of just over $600
per month, including taxes and insurance. It was obvious from the presentation that Brian Grainger Construction is doing some great "out-of-the-box" thinking to assist his employees, as well as workers throughout the DeKalb-Sycamore area.
Monday, July 03, 2006
Homebuyer Education 2006
The Coalition office has been a very active place lately. Our homebuyer education classes are occurring much more regularly, allowing greater flexibility to those who are taking the classes. The homebuyer education classes now happen every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 6 to 8 p.m.
With the new flexibility is a new curriculum. We are now using the Realizing the American Dream
materials that are produced by NeighborWorks. This has caused us to increase our classes from four to five. The additional class gives us the opportunity to cover more material and focus more intensely on many of the areas of homeownership. We are very
excited about the changes that have been occurring in this area of our work!!
As if changes to the times and curriculum were not enough, we are now offering the classes in Spanish on a regular basis. The first two Saturdays of each month are dedicated to providing this service. We are rotating the class locations between the Coalition office and the Alerta office in Belvidere.
Finally, our staff is now 100% certified for the classes. All of our staff have completed the required training for teaching the classes. Anna received the training in early April, taking the training class and the exam in Spanish. This will help ease the class demands for all of us by spreading out the teaching responsibilities.
Friday, June 30, 2006
Employer Assisted Housing
The Coalition is actively working with several employers to implement the REACH-Illinois Program. This program provides incentives for employers who provide downpayment assistance to their employees. The incentives come in a couple of forms. First, the State of Illinois will match the downpayment assistance that an employer provides, up to $5,000. This is based on the household income of the employee. For example, if an employer provides $5,000 in downpayment assistance to an employee whose household income is less than 50% of the area median income, then the State will match that assistance with another $5,000, giving the employee $10,000 in downpayment funds.
The State will also offer tax credits to the employer for providing that assistance. These tax credits are worth 50% of the assistance provided by the employer. In the example above, the employer would receive $2,500 in state income tax credits. If the employer is a not-for-profit, they can sell these tax credits to offset the cost of their employer assisted housing program.
This is an outstanding benefit that companies can provide to their employees. The geographic area can be selected by the employer, encouraging employees to live near work. This lowers absenteeism and increases employee retention. If you are interested in learning more, please contact the Coalition office!
Friday, May 19, 2006
The Coalition has finally launched our new website. You can access it by going to raahc.org
. It has a downloadable .pdf calendar of our homebuyer education classes as well as other information about the Coalition.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Affordable Housing Program
We learned yesterday that the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago's Affordable Housing Program will have about $30 million available for 2006. This is down 25% from last year. The impact will be felt in the Downpayment Plus program and in the Competitive AHP for project developers. Currently several members of the Coalition are utilizing the Downpayment Plus program. Our guess, and this is not based on any facts or knowledge, is that reservations may run out in September or October. Due to the recent growth of the program, that may even occur earlier. Of course, every year is different, so we will see how the program progresses as the year moves forward.
This may also have an impact on the awards available to developers. The maximum award will remain at $600,000 per project, but the overall amount available will be down from last year. Also keep in mind that last year saw an increase in projects receiving funds even though there were fewer funds available. This may have been due to a lowering of the project maximum or simply lower requests from developers.