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Unprecedented coalition of 15 Metro Detroit cities, REALTORS, lenders, civic leaders, elected officials and non-profits teaming to sell 100 dream homes at bargain prices

Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011
Contact: Mike Nowlin
Cell (989) 450-0855

Local, federal aid available to eligible buyers on first-come, first-served basis; awareness campaign kicks off Jan. 31 with Wayne, Oakland county events

FARMINGTON HILLS – An unprecedented coalition of REALTORS, lenders, non-profits, civic leaders, government policymakers and local elected officials will announce on Monday, Jan. 31, 2011, a new partnership to help sell at least 100 beautifully renovated foreclosed homes valued at $50,000 to $150,000 this year in 15 Metro Detroit communities to low- and moderate-income buyers.

More details will be announced during two “Open House” press conferences showcasing two of the newly restored homes at 8:30 AM Monday, Jan. 31, 2011, at 1457 Gloria Street, in Westland, MI 48185, and at 11:00 AM, 12730 Albany, in Oak Park, MI 48237.

“This partnership is a crucial element in our efforts to revitalize and rebuild communities in Metro Detroit and across Michigan,” said Michigan Association of REALTORS President Claire Williams. “By rehabilitating and returning foreclosed or abandoned properties to the affordable housing stock, we create more opportunities to improve the quality of life for families and ensure communities flourish as safe and appealing places in which to live.”

The new Metro Detroit coalition’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) partnership was developed as part of the federal Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and is available for a limited time only. The 15 municipalities in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties are offering down payment assistance from as little as $5,000 up to as much as 50 percent of the purchase price of the home.

In addition, the municipalities are investing the federal NSP funds they received to have Farmington Hills-based Home Renewal Systems restore the properties, spending anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000 beyond the sale price of the home. Home Renewal Systems is southeast Michigan’s largest NSP contract firm working to market and sell the municipalities’ housing inventory. To qualify for this program, buyers must have a minimum income of at least $1,200 per month (minimum income can include employment, social security, alimony and child support.) For qualified buyers, down payment assistance and credit counseling are available through several government programs. The 15 municipalities partnering in the coalition include: Eastpointe, Ecorse, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Holly, Inkster, Keego Harbor, Lake Orion, Oak Park, Ortonville, Pontiac, Redford, River Rouge, Royal Oak Township and Westland.

The events mark the kick-off of a statewide campaign the Michigan Association of REALTORS (MAR) will coordinate with local civic leaders, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), the National Community Stabilization Trust and others during 2011 to help prevent the harm caused by home foreclosures and rebuild Michigan communities.

MAR President Williams will be joined during the announcement by the presidents of the Western Wayne Oakland County Association of REALTORS (WWOCAR), the Metropolitan Consolidated Association of REALTORS (MCAR); executives with Home Renewal Systems and the Michigan Credit Union League; non-profits such as National Faith HomeBuyers founder and CEO Dina Harris in Wayne County and Oakland County Community & Home Improvement Manager Karry Rieth; lenders such as Bank of America, Charter One and Fifth Third Bank; and elected officials and civic leaders representing municipalities in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, including Westland Mayor William D. Wild, Oak Park Mayor Gerald Naftaly and Oakland County Director of Economic Development and Community Affairs Maureen Krauss.

“If you have the big desire to purchase a home for your family, then now is the best time to do so,” said WWOCAR Executive Vice President Dale Smith. “We have made the decision that our role as REALTORS is much greater than simply helping folks buy and sell houses. We owe it to our clients to help them find or keep their homes and not only survive in but thrive in Michigan.”

Michigan foreclosures are selling at a 40 percent discount, one of the highest in the nation, according to RealtyTrac’s third quarter data report released in December. The average sales price of foreclosures during the quarter was $72,266. In Metro Detroit, the average foreclosure sales price during the third quarter for 2010 was $48,719 in Wayne County, $99,698 in Oakland County and $74,244 in Macomb County. The average discounts on those foreclosed homes ranged from nearly 30 percent in Macomb County to almost 40 percent in Oakland County and close to 50 percent in Wayne County.

As part of the coalition effort, Home Renewal Systems is teaming with non-profits and MAR to offer education seminars, at no cost to home buyers, that guide buyers through the process and responsibilities of owning a home.

“These foreclosed houses are ideal for potential buyers with small budgets, especially as they start to receive their federal and state tax returns,” said Home Renewal Systems Vice President Shannon Morgan. “People with a limited budget think that because of the high amount of newly built houses, they can never have their own. However, this has changed since foreclosed homes have increased. The fact is these houses are great investments for buyers and families.”

Michigan ranked seventh nationwide for its 2010 foreclosure rate, according to annual figures released by RealtyTrac. The state had one foreclosure filing for every 33 households compared with the national rate of one for every 45 households. Filings were up by nearly 15 percent from 2009 and up 28 percent from 2008 figures in Michigan. The state saw filings on 135,874 properties.

“Many people may feel that it is unfair that their property value should suffer because others couldn’t afford their mortgage,” said MCAR Interim Chief Executive Officer Steve Tschirhart. “This is why all that can be done to prevent foreclosures should be encouraged – not only to save the homeowners from misery but also to help preserve and maintain the viability of the community as a whole.”

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