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Homebuyers seminar to be held in SpanishThe...


Homebuyers seminar to be held in Spanish

The Southeast Development Center will conduct a free homebuyers seminar in Spanish at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

The program will include discussion of such topics as "why buy," "how to find the right house," "how to choose the right mortgage loan," looking at neighborhoods" and "how to afford your new home."

Among the speakers are Libby Arcia of the Centro de la Comunidad, Lida Wright of Long & Foster Real Estate Inc., Lola Menendez of NationsBank and attorney Tony Salazar.

The two-hour seminar will be held at the Centro de la Comunidad, 2720 Pulaski Highway.

For more information, call the Southeast Development Center at 342-3313; Patterson Park Neighborhoods at 522-6969, or the Centro de la Comunidad at 675-0902.

Little change seen in housing agency

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. Chairman Leland Brendsel said last week that he does not expect Congress to radically alter the federal agency that insures home mortgages.

"I don't believe Congress will make major changes to the FHA program," Mr. Brendsel said at a bankers' conference in Atlantic City, N.J., referring to the Federal Housing Administration.

Senate banking committees recently opened hearings on the nation's housing policy and are expected to weigh major changes proposed for the FHA, which insures single-family home mortgages.

Some of the proposals have recommended eliminating the agency entirely.

"Frankly, [the FHA] has been quite successful," said Mr. Brendsel, whose agency helps encourage home-lending by buying mortgages from lenders and packaging them into securities, which are then sold to investors.

Mr. Brendsel also said that the volume of mortgages produced is unlikely to rebound in the next two years.

"Our expectations for origination volumes certainly are tied to what we expect to happen to interest rates," Mr. Brendsel said, adding that Freddie Mac does not see interest rates moving "materially lower."

"We don't expect a refinancing surge to reappear," he said.

Baltimore ranked 82nd in affordability

Baltimore ranked in the middle of the pack in the latest quarterly survey of housing affordability, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

The top five most-expensive communities in the survey of 183 metropolitan areas were: San Francisco, Salinas, Calif., Santa Cruz, Calif., Santa Rosa, Calif., and El Paso, Texas.

The most affordable were: Lima, Ohio, Elkhart, Ind., Kokomo, Ind., Melbourne, Fla., and Dutchess County, N.Y.

Baltimore ranked 82nd most affordable, with 71.2 percent of all homes sold within reach of the median-income household. Nationwide, only 62.3 percent of homes sold -- down from 66.8 percent -- were within reach.

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