Archive for May 2012

A New FHA Condos Approval Company Toolbar!

May 28, 2012

We just developed a new FHA Condos Approval Toolbar. With one click you can go to our homepage, check on the status of your HUD application, see our fees and check a condo complex to see if it is FHA approved. There is also a site wide search engine. To download the toolbar go to:


May 27, 2012

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development makes $85 million available to state housing agencies to provide affordable supportive housing for extremely low-income persons with disabilities. This is the first time in the history of HUD’s Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities Program that funding will be offered to state housing agencies that meet new eligibility criteria, including having a partnership with a state health and human services and Medicaid agency to provide essential support and services. The Notice of Funding for the Section 811 Project Rental Assistance was posted on today here.

Entities have until July 31, 2012 to apply for funding, which is expected to provide housing for 2,800 extremely low-income persons with disabilities.

May 27, 2012


Thirty-year mortgage rate falls to record 3.78%

May 27, 2012

WASHINGTON – The average U.S. rate for the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to a record low for a fourth straight week. Cheap mortgages have helped boost home sales modestly this year.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year loan dipped to 3.78%. That’s down from 3.79% last week and the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.

The average rate on 15-year fixed mortgage, a popular option for refinancing, held steady at 3.04, matching the record low hit last week.

The average rate on the 30-year loan has been below 4% since early December. Lower rates are a key reason the housing industry is flashing signs of a recovery five years after the bubble burst.

In April, sales of both previously occupied homes and new homes rose near two-year highs. Builders are gaining more confidence in the market, breaking ground on more homes and requesting more permits to build single-family homes later this year.

A better job market has also made more people open to buying a home. Employers have added 1 million jobs in the past five months. The unemployment has dropped a full percentage point since August, from 9.1% to 8.1% in April.

Google Warns Hundreds of Thousands May Lose Internet in July!

May 25, 2012

WASHINGTON –  Google plans to warn more than half a million users of a computer infection that may knock their computers off the Internet this summer.

Unknown to most of them, their problem began when international hackers ran an online advertising scam to take control of infected computers around the world. In a highly unusual response, the FBI set up a safety net months ago using government computers to prevent Internet disruptions for those infected users. But that system will be shut down July 9 — killing connections for those people.

The FBI has run an impressive campaign for months, encouraging people to visit a website that will inform them whether they’re infected and explain how to fix the problem. After July 9, infected users won’t be able to connect to the Internet.

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May 21, 2012

WASHINGTON – Three affordable housing developments are the recipients of the coveted HUD Secretary’s Housing and Community Design Award, each recognized for excellence in residential housing design.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) selected Richardson Apartments in San Francisco, California; Bud Clark Commons in Portland, Oregon and Boston Public Library, Mattapan Branch in Boston, Massachusetts for a new generation of affordable housing.


General Deputy Assistant Secretary Jean Lin Pao presented the awards yesterday in a special ceremony during the 2012 AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in Washington.


            “Building something that reaches the height of both form and function begins on the drawing board,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, himself a trained architect.  “These developments prove that innovative and thoughtful designs play an essential role in creating sustainable communities where everyone wants to call home.”


            The 2012 HUD Secretary’s Housing and Community Design Award recipients are:


For Excellence in Affordable Housing Design: Drs. Julian and Raye Richardson Apartments:  San Francisco, California (Submitting Architect: David Baker)


This award recognizes architecture that demonstrates overall excellence in terms of design in response to both the needs and constraints of affordable housing. In the heart of San Francisco, the project remediates the site of a collapsed freeway.  As a mixed-use Single Room Occupancy building, it provides 120 permanent supportive studio apartments for formerly homeless residents, many of whom have mental and physical disabilities.  The design is responsive to their needs, balancing independence with security, maximizing a constricted site to meet program needs, and creating attractive homes and community spaces.  This five-story structure draws inspiration from its surroundings, both standing out and fitting in with the neighborhood fabric.  Focus on the natural beauty of materials — zinc, concrete, and salvaged wood — and on the iconic corner, entry, and shared spaces has created a building with a strong identity and sense of place.  A landscaped courtyard, second-level deck, and roof garden provide social opportunities and address community concerns about loitering.  Well-lit sidewalks, permeable paving, plantings, and bike racks make for a safe, active addition to the streetscape.  The retail corner is to house a social-service bakery/café that will offer jobs and job training to residents.  



For Creating Community Connections: Bud Clark Commons:  Portland, Oregon (Submitting Architect: Dave Otte)


This award recognizes projects that incorporate housing within other community amenities for the purpose of either revitalization or planned growth. Through a combination of low-income housing tax credits, urban renewal funding, and HUD Recovery Act dollars, Bud Clark Commons, a service and shelter for the homeless project opened in summer 2011.  It is now setting a new standard for services by joining permanent supportive housing and temporary shelter with a community resource center.  Bud Clark Commons offers a day center with access to services, a temporary shelter for men, and apartments for homeless adults seeking permanent supportive housingCentrally located at the gateway to downtown Portland and adjacent to light rail, buses, and an historic train station, this project combines the rigorous programmatic requirements of a coalition lead by the municipal client, a progressive design approach, and sustainable building practices.  The building has a LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, and the energy-efficient technologies are estimated to achieve savings of $60,000 per year.  Using the Housing First approach, the mission of Bud Clark Commons is to provide a continuum of services to help transition homeless individuals from an unstable condition to a permanent living arrangement.


For Community-Informed Design:  Boston Public Library, Mattapan Branch:  Boston, Massachusetts (Submitting Architect: William L. Rawn)


The Community-Informed Design recognizes design that supports physical communities as they rebuild social structures and relationships that may have been weakened by outmigration, disinvestment, and the isolation of inner-city areas. With significant amounts of glass looking onto a major urban street, this stone and brick building creates a strong civic presence that is decidedly open and inviting to the community.  The building’s interior reflects this same sense of invitation in each of its major spaces.  The main Reading Room, with its high ceiling, warm wood shelving, and “sun grillage,” creates a welcoming space for adults to work quietly.  The Children’s Room and Young Adults’ Room each provide colorful and active spaces flanking an outdoor courtyard.  A Community Room, wrapped in warm wood, allows the library to serve the community beyond library hours.  Reflecting the importance of the teenage population to the local community, this library provides the largest young adults’ space of any regional public library.  Its Young Adults’ Room has been designed as an oasis, a lively space with robust technology encouraging heavy use after school and during the weekends.

Condo sales may become easier if FHA revises rules governing mortgages.

May 20, 2012

By Kenneth R. Harney, Published: May 18

Thousands of condo unit owners and buyers around the country might soon get some welcome news on mortgage financing: Though officials are mum on specifics, the Federal Housing Administration is readying changes to controversial rules that have rendered large numbers of condominium units ineligible for low-down-payment insured mortgages.

The revisions could remove at least some of the obstacles that have dissuaded condominium association boards from seeking approval or recertification of their buildings for FHA loans during the past 18 months. Under the agency’s regulations, individual condo units cannot be sold to buyers using FHA-insured mortgages unless the property as a whole has been approved for financing.

According to condominium experts, realty agents, lenders and builders, FHA’s rules have become overly strict and have cut off unit buyers from their best source of low-cost mortgage money, thereby frustrating the real estate recovery that the Obama administration says it advocates.

Christopher L. Gardner, managing member of FHA Pros, a national consulting firm based in Northridge, Calif., that helps condo boards obtain FHA approvals, said barely 25 percent of all condo projects that are potentially eligible for FHA financing are now approved. That is despite the fact that FHA financing is the No. 1 mortgage choice for half of all condo buyers and is crucial to first-time and minority purchasers, says Gardner.

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