Maryland Launches Conventional Refinance Product

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For the first time ever, qualified homeowners looking to refinance their mortgage can take advantage of the competitive rates and attractive terms of a new conventional loan product offered through the Maryland Mortgage Program.

This new refinance program expands the diversity of products offered through the Maryland Mortgage Program, the state’s premier homeownership program. It could be an attractive option for homeowners with good credit who may be looking to reduce monthly expenses by refinancing. Information about the 97% LTV Conventional Refinance program can be obtained by contacting one of the many lenders throughout the state that work in partnership with DHCD and the Maryland Mortgage Program.

The Maryland Mortgage Program offers homeownership opportunities for families in many walks of life, including conventional loans insured by private mortgage insurance companies; special opportunities for first-time homebuyers; help for low to moderate income families interested in buying homes in Maryland’s older communities; reduced rates for purchasers of foreclosed and vacant properties owned by DHCD; and special rates and general downpayment and settlement cost assistance for veterans, members of the military and their families. Visit DHCD’s website to learn more.

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Redskin Quarterback’s Mom Delivers Message of Hope, Inspiration at Homeownership Workshop

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Capitol Heights, MD – The mother of Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III urged families attending an April 13 homeownership workshop to live within their means, focus on their dreams and never, ever give up – even when faced with adversity.

“No matter how low you start out in life or how many times you’re knocked down, you can get back up again,” Jacqueline Griffin told a standing-room only audience at HomeFree-USA’s Keys to Success workshop sponsored by Bank America, with support from DHCD. “I know how hard it is when you’re striving, when you have goals, and something happens. It’s not what you go through, but how you go through it.”

Mrs. Griffin described how she and her husband believe in living frugal, faith-filled lives and raised their family with the same values. When her famous son hurt his knee after a Rookie of the Year season with the Redskins, she said, he turned to his parents and asked “Now what?”

“We told him, ‘now comes the test for something greater,’” she said. “I know not everybody is going to be an RG3,” she said, before stopping to correct herself. “I never call him RG3. To me, he’s Robert. But whatever you dreams, you have to nurture them.”

Secretary Skinner joined Mr. and Mrs. Griffin and Capitol Heights Mayor Kito James at the daylong workshop in the Washington suburbs. The Griffins recently moved to the Washington region at their son’s request.

HomeFree, like counseling agencies throughout Maryland, is helping prospective homeowners prepare for a strengthening economy, noted Secretary Skinner. After the collapse of the national housing market in 2007, members of the MD HOPE Counseling Network focused on foreclosure prevention. Today, counselors are helping families repair their credit, organize their finances and put themselves in position to buy the home of their dreams.

 “Buying a home may not be as far out of reach as you think,” Secretary Skinner said. “And now is a great time to buy – with interest rates at, or near, historic lows and sales prices may never again be as low in Prince George’s County as they are now.”

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Lenders Told That Maryland is Easy to do Business With

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Lennar Homes, one of the nation’s leading home builders, was so lavish in its compliments of DHCD in February when it received an award as one of the agency’s top partners, that we had no choice but to invite them to tell us more about ourselves.

They did not disappoint.

“Maryland is the cream of the crop; they are far better – and far easier to deal with – than any other bond program we’ve ever had to deal with,” said John Tomasello, of Universal American Mortgage Co., the financial subsidiary of Lennar Corp. “If you saw how other bond programs work – well you just can’t beat what Maryland is doing.”

Tomasello was speaking at a June 5 meeting of the Maryland Mortgage Bankers Association, where DHCD staff members made a presentation about the Maryland Mortgage Program. The staff had traveled to the quiet town of Easton on Maryland’s Eastern Shore to spread the word that the state’s flagship homeownership program offers a great opportunity for lenders and realtors as well as first-time homebuyers.

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The Maryland Mortgage Program: “Your Clients Will Thank You For It”

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The best ambassadors for the Maryland Mortgage Program tend to be our lender partners.

“We have always felt that it is important for us to be a part of the MMP, and we’re a part of the program for that reason,” says Catherine Smith, senior vice president and chief operating officer of First Home Mortgage, the program’s top lender of 2012.

“(The Maryland Mortgage Program) enables a certain qualified borrower the ability to buy a home; eligible borrowers who for whatever reason might not be able to buy a home otherwise, under other programs.  I think that helps us follow our mission which is to help borrowers get into homes.”

Adds Ryan Paquin, branch manager at First Home in Crofton “Just by having that product, it gets the phone ringing. I mean people look us up online, or people say ‘Hey can you help us out with that client?’ You know, it just opens up the doors.

“There are four different products from a purchase standpoint,” Paquin continues. “You can be a military purchaser, you can be someone buying gin rural areas, you can be a 10 percent to 15 percent down perfect candidate, and there’s still a benefit to using the program – with the down payment assistance, the mortgage assistance payments, there really is no negative to the program.”

First Home is one of the 51 approved Maryland Mortgage Program lenders, says Cecilia Weller, single family housing program coordinator for DHCD’s Community Development Administration.  Becoming a CDA-approved lender is a short process involving being approved by the master servicer, completing documentation and participation in training.

Weller believes that getting people into homes and keeping them there is part of creating sustainable communities.

“When you get someone into a home you are strengthening not just the happiness level of your basic homeowner, but the neighborhood, it strengthens the community and it strengthens the state as a whole.”

 “Your clientele, your borrowers and your realtors will thank you for it,” Paquin says. “There are no negatives to being a CDA lender.”

  – With Catherine Kinlein and Michael Swartz

 

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Now’s the Time to Learn More About DHCD’s Homeownership Initiatives!

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Maryland Homefront: the Veterans and Military Family Mortgage Program is the state’s $50 million initiative to help make homeownership more accessible to veterans, military personnel and their families.  Through the initiative, qualified buyers can receive $10,000 in downpayment assistance and a half percent discount on the already competitive Maryland Mortgage Program rate.

The discount, coupled with downpayment assistance, could mean significant savings for military personnel and veterans seeking to buy a home in Maryland.

But the clock is ticking. Maryland Homefront: the Veterans and Military Family Mortgage Program ends Sept. 30 and about half of the funds set aside for it have already been committed.

Through Maryland’s Targeted Areas initiative, the state is providing up to $20 million in mortgage funds at a discounted rate for families looking to purchase homes in federally designated targeted areas, including Baltimore City and Allegany, Caroline, Dorchester, Garrett, Kent, and Somerset counties; and other neighborhoods throughout the state.

The discount – a half percentage off of the Maryland Mortgage Program’s normally competitive rates – could make a significant difference for families looking to buy a home in those neighborhoods, particularly if those families receive the generous downpayment assistance available through the state’s flagship homeownership program.

But the clock is ticking. About a third of the funds set aside for the Targeted Areas initiative already have been allocated.

The Maryland Homefront and Targeted Areas initiatives are among the many Maryland Mortgage Program products designed to expand homeownership opportunities for families from diverse walks of life. DHCD now offers conventional loan and refinance products as the agency moves aggressively to expand its portfolio and as the state’s housing market continues to strengthen.

In many cases, borrowers can combine DHCD partner match programs with local initiatives for additional downpayment assistance.

But … the clock is ticking.

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Outstanding Performances Honored at Annual Top Lender Breakfast in February

First Home Mortgage Corp. was honored as the Maryland Mortgage Program’s Most Productive Lender in 2012 – and the lender with the greatest number of Maryland Homefront loans – at DHCD’s annual Top Lender Breakfast on Feb. 13.

DHCD works with an ever-expanding network of local and national lenders to provide a diverse range of quality fixed-rate mortgage loan options with low interest rates and generous downpayment assistance through the Maryland Mortgage Program.

Each year, DHCD recognizes members of the Maryland Mortgage Program’s lender network for outstanding performance at its Top Lender Breakfast. The February get-together also gives lenders an opportunity to learn about new Maryland Mortgage Program products and kicks-off the upcoming lending season.

Other 2012 Top Lenders include:

  • C&F Mortgage Corp. for Best Performance by a New Partner;
  • Universal American Mortgage Co., for Best Utilization of the Partner Match Programs;
  • Wells Fargo Home Mortgage for Best Performance by a National Lender;
  • Carrollton Bank for Best Loan Packages;
  • PrimeLending and Real Estate Mortgage Network, Inc. as joint winners for Fewest Cancellations.
  • Lennar Homes as the Top Builder/Developer Partner
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Maryland’s Housing Market May be Reaching a Sustainable Equilibrium

The past 12 months have been remarkable period for Maryland’s housing market, simply because they were so predictable. We had gotten used to housing indicators swinging wildly in response to a broad range of factors, including legislation, litigation, Federal Reserve announcements, corporate and individual behavior, and the European debt crisis.

Economic experts feared that this marked a “new normal” and that the housing industry would never be the same. Yet, in the summer of 2012, experts cautiously predicted initial signs of a possible recovery. The same experts also predicted surges in foreclosure activity as part of a necessary step in healing the market.

Overall, the past 12 months met those expectations:

  • Foreclosures have risen as anticipated, and at a level that the market can absorb.
  • On a year-over-year basis, home sales and the median home price has risen in each of the last 12 months.
  • Months’ supply – the amount of time it would take to deplete the existing inventory of homes for sale – has remained at a very healthy level.
  • Construction is on an overall strong pace as evidenced by residential building permits.
  • Homes for sale are spending less time on the market with each passing month

So, where do we go from here?

 Over the next several months, even while we expect to see big shifts in the backlog of seriously delinquent loans to foreclosure, we can also anticipate a continuing recovery with the conclusion of the crisis in sight. This is good news for homeowners, good news for homebuyers and good news for the state’s economy.

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