Prevent Home Foreclosure

You are invited to attend a free workshop on how to avoid losing your home to foreclosure. It will take place on Wed., Jan 21, 6-8 pm at the Bryant Community Center at 3 W. Eden Ct., Ann Arbor. Dinner and childcare will be provided. The speakers will be from the MSU Extension & Washtenaw County Treasurer. Please call 734-994-2722 with questions.

Cohousing opportunities in Ann Arbor

This Sunday, January 11, at 2 p.m., Nick Meima, founder of the Sunward cohousing community will be talking on "Community, Health, and Well-Being" and leading a tour of the three local cohousing communities. Cohousing is an innovative approach to living in which residents have separate dwellings but share activities and where the physical environment encourages a strong sense of community. Inspired by Danish experiments in intentional living, cohousing has taken off in this country, spawning a diversity of communities that each have their individual character based on needs and goals of residents. The meeting and tour will be held at Sunward Cohousing, 424 Little Lake Dr. Free. Preregistration required. Call 763-2177.

Beyond Foreclosure at AADL

If you are caught up in the current foreclosure mess, bring your questions and concerns to a panel of local experts on Thursday, Dec. 4, 6:30-8:30 pm at the Downtown Library. Beyond Foreclosure will zero in on what you can do to survive and recover from the unfortunate experience of home foreclosure. Knowledge is power, so visit aadl.org for free access to a variety of online magazine and newspaper articles (including The New York Times), where you can learn more about how the government and communities around the country are dealing with this challenge.

Ann Arbor Ranks Fourth in Nation for Racial Disparities in Mortgage Loan Prices

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The National Community Reinvestment Coalition has released a study on racial disparities in high-cost home mortgage loans from more than 219 metropolitan areas. The report is based on 2006 data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. The 2006 data is the latest available data. Here is the press release about the study and the full 64 page report.

Today’s Ann Arbor News reports that “Ann Arbor ranked fourth among metropolitan areas in the United States for the most pronounced racial disparities in home mortgage loan prices."

The methodology of this report may receive more scrutiny than the methodology of the more positive rankings the city has received.

Foreclosure Assistance

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Local, state and federal agencies are providing assistance and information for homeowners having difficulty meeting their mortgage payments or facing foreclosure. Washtenaw County's Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention website gives you the names and phone numbers of the people in the Treasurer's Office that are trained and ready to help. There's plenty of online information at the site too. The state government's Office of Financial Services offers more tips for consumers. The FHA, Federal Housing Administration is launching the "FHASecure" refinancing program effective immediately and expects some 240,000 homewowners to qualify.

Why the credit hoopla matters to you

The business world has been abuzz lately about the growing credit crisis. Several large subprime lenders have been finding it increasingly difficult to stay afloat, as investors are becoming less willing to take on extra risk. And as the Financial Times demonstrates in this nifty interactive map, the problem isn't just in the United States.

So what does this mean for mere mortals like us? Well, if you're planning on buying a home, watch out. People are finding it increasingly difficult to secure mortgages, particularly if they are what the credit industry considers subprime borrowers, i.e. those who might be a bit less likely to pay back their loans. Those of you who already have homes with adjustable rate mortgages may find your rates creeping up as lenders try to recoup their losses.

And what can be done about this? Well, major financial institutions from across the globe are trying to dampen the crisis. The U.S.'s own vaunted Fed is still concerned with inflation, though, so don't count on them to cut interest rates anytime soon. But you can always check out the what's available at your local AADL branch for help. Here are a few resources to help you traverse the increasingly stormy waters of credit and mortgages.

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