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A nation of homeowners

By Compiled by TERESA BURNEY

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 6, 1999


That's a record percentage, up from 65.7 percent in 1997 and 64 percent five years earlier. The government credits low mortgage interest rates and a good economy for the increase.

Still, homeownership is higher in the suburbs and among whites. In 1998, nearly 73 percent of white households owned their homes. For African-American families, it was about 46 percent. Hispanics had a homeownership rate of nearly 45 percent, although all those numbers are climbing.

About half the people who lived in central cities owned their homes last year, while in the suburbs, the rate climbed to nearly 74 percent.

Loans to help more African-Americans become homeowners

The NAACP and Fannie Mae, the nation's largest source of financing for home mortgages, are pairing up to provide more help for African-Americans who want to become homeowners.

Fannie Mae will provide up to $110-million in special loans tailored to help African-Americans who traditionally have been underserved by lenders.

The NAACP will provide more financial counseling and information on becoming a homeowner to African-Americans.

For information, call the NAACP's Community Development Resource Center office at (410) 602-1693.

HOME BUYER U

n Working families can learn to save for a home at classes sponsored by the Community Service Foundation. The budgeting classes are from 7 to 9 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Sunshine Center at 330 Fifth St N, in St. Petersburg and from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Feb. 24 at the YWCA, 222 S Lincoln Ave., Clearwater. There is a series of five budgeting classes. For reservations, call (727) 461-0618

n Gary Lambert of Diversified Mortgage offers a free home buying class at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Republic Bank Building, 28050 U.S. 19 N, in Clearwater. A real estate agent, appraiser, title company representative and home inspector will be available to answer questions. Call 669-0338, ext. 286, to register.

n A workshop covering prequalifying for a mortgage, choosing a real estate agent, evaluating credit and understanding the basics of obtaining financing is offered by Allstate Mortgage & Loan from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 to 11 a.m. Saturdays at 25400 U.S. 19 N, Suite 263, Clearwater. For information, call (800) 701-1186.

n Owners Equity Mortgage Corp. offers free workshops and seminars for applicants with down payment and credit problems from 7:15 to 9:15 p.m. weekdays at 101 E Tarpon Ave., Tarpon Springs. The classes, which are geared toward first-time home buyers with low to moderate incomes, will cover all phases of home buying. For information, call (727) 942-6406 or (727) 938-6583.

n American Home Mortgage and First American Title offer "How to Buy Your First Home," which includes information on credit reports, qualifying for a mortgage and down-payment assistance. Sessions are from 7 to 8 p.m. the second and last Tuesdays of each month. Call (727) 446-2911 for reservations and locations in St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

n Free workshops by Buccaneer Mortgage and Brophy Real Estate in St. Petersburg and Seminole are offered from 6:30 to 8 p.m. the first and last Tuesdays of each month. For information or reservations, call (727) 898-2827 or (727) 522-6666. n A free workshop for those with down-payment and credit problems is offered from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays. The workshop is sponsored by AGA Mortgage Service and Realty Associates at its office at 11350 66th St. N, Suite 104, Largo. For information and reservations, call Mary Ann at (727) 541-3390 or Joe at (727) 531-1502.

CLARIFICATION

Send items to Real Estate, c/o Teresa Burney, the Times, 710 Court St, Clearwater, FL 33602. Deadline is 10 days before publication

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