Wednesday, August 29, 2012

NeighborhoodLIFT Program Offers DownPayment Assistance

If you spend any time with people who work in housing or real estate, you’ll hear certain ‘catch-phrases’ repeated over and over.  One of the most pervasive phrases heard over the last couple of years is “All Real Estate is Local.”  There’s a lot of truth in that statement… and it’s one of the reasons why the Minnesota Homeownership Center’s Homeownership Advisors Network is so successful at preparing homebuyers for successful homeownership.  

The Homeownership Advisors Network is made up of almost 50 different community-based non-profit, governmental and tribal organizations throughout the state.  The members are fully engaged in housing issues in their local communities and work on finding innovative ways to promote successful homeownership.  Two members of our network, Community Neighborhood Housing Services in St. Paul and Neighborhood Housing Services of Minneapolis, who are also NeighborWorks America affiliates, have partnered with Wells Fargo to bring the NeighborhoodLIFT program to Minnesota.

The NeighborhoodLIFT program is a collaboration between Wells Fargo and NeighborWorks America designed to provide down payment assistance and homebuyer education programs to aid housing recovery in areas that have been heavily impacted by the foreclosure crisis. In Minnesota, this program includes a $9 million investment for down payment assistance grants and homebuyer education and counseling programs to help homebuyers achieve successful, sustainable homeownership in the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. 

Minneapolis and St. Paul are two of about two dozen cities throughout the country that will benefit from a total investment of over $170 million that Wells Fargo has committed to the NeighborhoodLift program (also known as CityLIFT in other areas).

The new initiative was announced August 28 at a press conference at a home in North Minneapolis that has recently been remodeled by Neighborhood Housing Services of Minneapolis:

L-R Glennis Ter Wisscha (Neighborhood Housing Services of Minneapolis); Dave Kvamme (Wells Fargo); Jason Peterson (Community Neighborhood Housing Service)
Recently Remodeled Home in North Minneapolis (Press Conference)

The program will include a free event for potential homebuyers on Friday and Saturday, September 7th and 8th at the Minneapolis Convention Center, (Hall A) from 10am – 7pm.  At the event, buyers who are interested in purchasing a home in either of the cities can work with a member of the Homeownership Advisors Network and other housing counselors to see if they qualify for any of the down payment grants available through the NeighborhoodLIFT program – up to $15,000 – even if they haven’t yet chosen a home.  There will also be opportunities for buyers to preview featured homes for sale in Minneapolis and St. Paul neighborhoods.  Consumers who would like more information about the homebuyer workshop or to register, visit

Here’s some additional information about the NeighborhoodLIFT down payment assistance program:

  • Grant amount up to $15,000 for down payment assistance for the purchase of a primary, owner-occupied residence in either Minneapolis or St. Paul (surrounding cities are not eligible).
  • The grant has a 0% interest rate and is forgivable 20% each year for five years (after the fifth year of continued residence, the entire amount is forgiven).
  • Household income cannot exceed 120% Area Median Income
  • Purchaser does NOT have to be a first-time buyer
  • Homebuyer education is REQUIRED (Home Stretch certificate is accepted if the course was taken prior to 8/28/2012.  After 8/28/2012, the Home Stretch certificate must be issued by either Community NHS or Minneapolis NHS).
  • This down payment assistance can be used with OTHER down-payment programs (speak with a Homeownership Advisor at Community NHS or Minneapolis NHS for more details)
  • Most importantly: this down payment assistance can be granted REGARDLESS of who you choose to use as your primary lender (you do NOT have to have a first mortgage loan with Wells Fargo to qualify for the assistance).

Monday, August 13, 2012

Midyear Sheriffs Sales Report Released


The Center has released its most recent report on the number of homes sold at Sheriffs’ sales in Minnesota during the first half of 2012... and it sends a mixed message on the overall health of Minnesota’s housing market.   The report indicates that there were 9,565 foreclosures in the first half of 2012, a decline 15% from the same time period in 2011, but also shows that foreclosures have remained virtually unchanged for the last three quarters. 

The report, titled “2012 Semi-Annual Foreclosures in Minnesota:  A Report Based on County Sheriff’s Sale Data”, analyzes sheriff’s sale data, the only accurate means of identifying completed foreclosures, from each of Minnesota’s 87 Counties.  Minnesota is unique among other states in the availability of current, comprehensive foreclosure sale data. 

 “This report does not predict the future, but it sends a discouraging message,” said Julie Gugin, Executive Director of the Minnesota Homeownership Center.  “While the year-over-year declines are positive, we also know that thousands of Minnesota families continue to struggle with payments, and those numbers remain stubbornly high.”  

The Minnesota Homeownership Center, Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, Minnesota Housing and Family Housing Fund published the report, with research provided by HousingLink.

A full copy of the report is available at the MN Homeownership Center’s website: here.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

More Good News For Housing in Minnesota

Preforeclosure Notices Resume Their Drop 

On  Thursday, August 2nd, the Minnesota Homeownership Center released its data on the aggregate number of Preforeclosure Notices received by foreclosure counselors in the Homeownership Advisors Network for the second quarter of 2012.

Notices received dropped 17% from the first quarter of 2012, reaching their lowest point since the law was enacted in late 2008.

In the second quarter of 2012, members of the Homeownership Advisors Network received 9,995 preforeclosure notices, 17% fewer than the previous quarter, and 25% fewer than the during Q2, 211:

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Encouragingly, the metro area also experienced a similar 16% drop in the number of notices received:

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There are, however, a few areas of the state that we’ll need to continue to monitor as they have bucked the downward trend of the rest of the state: the City of Minneapolis and, to a lesser degree, Carver County:

While the overall numbers are certainly cause for celebration… we also have to remember that this brings the year-to-date total of Preforeclosure Notices received by Minnesota homeowners to 22,101

More than 22 THOUSAND Minnesota families continue to struggle with mortgage payments.  You can help them by sharing the message that help is available.  For free.

This online advertising campaign (more info here) is already helping hundreds of struggling homeowners by connecting them with information, resources and effective foreclosure prevention help.  Join us in spreading the word by placing them on your blog/website… or asking your employer, social service agency or local government to post them.   For electronic copies of these ads, visit: