Category Archives: Minnesota Housing

Minnesota Housing Finance Agency

Minnesota_Housing_Finance_AgencyThe Minnesota Housing Finance Agency is about helping put Minnesotans into the homes they need and want. In particular, the state’s Economic Development and Housing Challenge Fund (aka the Challenge Fund) is designed to meet the housing needs of workforce communities across the state, and nearly all working households in these communities fit income guidelines for this flexible, proven and feasible affordable housing program.

The Challenge Fund provides the infrastructure needed to serve working households through both affordable rental and homeownership options. In other words, it helps provide relief for households currently paying too much of their paycheck toward their place to live, as well as for the construction of certain types of housing hardworking Minnesotans need but don’t have enough of to choose from at this time.

In 2014, nearly 575,000 Minnesotans were “cost burdened,” paying more than 30% of their income for housing. While jobs are plentiful, some employers are having a difficult time recruiting and retaining employees because there’s a housing shortage when it comes to affordable housing which doesn’t eat up a working person’s paycheck.

The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and the Department of Employment and Economic Development are currently working together to identify workforce hotspots across the state in need of nice, ideally located, affordable housing units close to where jobs are. These “hotspots” are located within 10 miles of a city with job growth and/or within 10 miles of a long commute community. There are about 77 of these types of communities which could stand to add between 4,500 and 7,500 rental units/affordable housing.

The Challenge Fund is smartly set up to quickly allocate funding to provide diverse housing solutions across the state. The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency plays a key role in this in order to ensure that job growth is not hindered by a lack of housing. The initiative is leveraging employer contributions, philanthropic dollars, and direct investment from local communities around the state to meet goals and continue to make Minnesota an attractive, affordable place to both live and work.

MN Housing in Washington County, MN Down Payment Assistance

mn_housing_in_washington_countyMinnesota is a big state. You could choose to live anywhere in Minnesota, but for the purposes of this article let’s consider MN housing in Washington County.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Washington County, it’s at the easternmost end of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. If you’re in Washington County and head east, you’ll soon be in Wisconsin.

Washington County is spread out over 423 square miles, with a variety of housing options to choose from in a wide range of different settings. You can live in suburban Oakdale (near St. Paul) or if you want a more rural feel, Afton, which reminds many people of Northern MN. MN Housing in Washington County is also popular for people who want resort-like settings, with stylish and serene lakefront and riverfront homes. Minnesota is known for its many lakes, and they’re all over Washington County. You should check out beautiful Lake Elmo in particular. Stillwater, MN is the county seat, and it overlooks the St. Croix River.

You get the best of both worlds– well three worlds actually– when you live in Washington County. One moment you’re in “the city,” and the next you’re in “the suburbs,” and soon after you find yourself in the rustic, rural areas where there are farmlands, wide open spaces and splendid vistas.

Lake Area Mortgage, a division of Lake Area Bank, can help you find and buy MN housing in Washington County. Down payment assistance is available for qualified buyers. Call Lake Area Mortgage at 651-209-2900 before you start searching for a new place to live– Lake Area Mortgage is in the business of helping people with the process of purchasing a new home in Minnesota, and Washington County is one of those beautiful places where people want to live, work and play! It combines natural beauty with modern amenities and facilities.

Purchasing a New Home in Minnesota, MN Down Payment Assistance

Purchasing_a_New_Home_in_MinnesotaIf you’re thinking of purchasing a new home in Minnesota, you’ve heard of Minneapolis and St. Paul, aka “the Twin Cities.” But there are other communities nearby you should know about, and one, in particular, is a place worth noting– St. Anthony.

As a “first-ring” suburb of Minneapolis, St. Anthony is five miles away from the center of Minneapolis and eight miles from St. Paul. Even though it’s relatively close to the “big cities,” St. Anthony has the charm and character of a small village. In fact, it’s referred to as “The Village” by locals. With about 8,000 people, St. Anthony is small enough that you can know your neighbor if you want to, as well as the names of the people who work at the local stores and restaurants. The infrastructure is set up so the community works well for walkers, bikers and drivers.

Interestingly, St. Anthony is a place where little to no new construction of homes occurs. But that may change in the coming years, as people from downtown Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota start looking for places to move.

When you’re thinking of purchasing a new home in Minnesota, St. Anthony is not the place to look– it doesn’t have brand new homes. It does, however, have classy, beautiful traditional homes with character. And it’s a walkable area, with nice parks, a municipal golf course, and good schools. Residents love living in “a village within the city,” and recreational amenities like Silver Lake and bike paths make it a nice place to raise a family.

Lake Area Mortgage, a division of Lake Area Bank, can help you find and buy a nice home in St. Anthony, MN. Down payment assistance is available for qualified buyers. Call Lake Area Mortgage at 651-209-2900 before you start searching for a new place to live– Lake Area Mortgage is in the business of helping people with the process of purchasing a new home in Minnesota.

Minnesota Housing Credits, MN Down Payment Assistance

minnesota_housing_creditsWhen you are able to receive Minnesota housing credits, consider buying your first home–or a home in general–in New Hope, MN. How about that for a name? New Hope. It would look good on your stationery, wouldn’t it?

New Hope is among Minneapolis-St. Paul’s “second-ring” suburbs, so it’s not totally city and it’s not totally rural, either. It’s suburban, and adjacent to several other communities, including

Crystal, Brooklyn Park, Plymouth and Golden Valley.

If you take Golden Valley out of the equation, New Hope’s housing stock is comparable to its neighbors, whereas the price per square foot hovers between $93 and $99. New Hope is on the high end at $99, meaning it’s quite a desirable community to live, work and/or play.

Why not use Minnesota housing credits to buy a home in New Hope? At 20,000 people, it’s not too big or too small– it’s “just right” for a place for families–and breathing room.

Originally formed as a farming community, New Hope is now a nice suburban place to call home. Located in Hennepin County, 12 miles northwest of downtown Minneapolis, you can get there on U.S. Highway 169, a main route in and out of the city.

If you have kids, they should like New Hope’s parks and recreation amenities, including the outdoor pool for summertime and the ice arena for hockey in the winter. There’s also a pickleball court, a “sk8 pad” for skateboarders, and gyms for working out.

Nearly every New Hope home is within a quarter-mile of a city park. Cool, huh? New Hope maintains 20 city parks with a total of more than 200 acres of green space. The crown jewel of the city’s park system is the 65-acre Northwood Park on Boone and 38th avenues.

New Hope is also home to privately run recreational facilities including a Lifetime Fitness and a YMCA, both located in the City Center area near Winnetka and 42nd avenues.

A family-oriented, suburban place, New Hope represents the best of American living these days. Use Minnesota housing credits to get yourself a house there; call Lake Area Mortgage today at 651-209-2900 to ask about financial assistance to “make it so!”

Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, MN Down Payment Assistance

Minnesota_Housing_Finance_AgencyHow do you finance the purchase of a home? According to the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, if you don’t have a lot of cash on hand, you can apply for a mortgage. This is a “secured loan” using your home as collateral. In other words, you’re paying off the loan over time to the entity who loaned it to you. If you can’t pay it off, that entity will own your house– and that’s what’s meant by “foreclosure.” You don’t want that.

Mortgages, meanwhile, are typically paid off over the course of several years. It’s like paying rent money for an apartment, except it’s toward truly owning your own home. Mortgages are often spread out over 15 or 30 years, giving people ample time to pay back their loan(s).

There are two parts of a mortgage. First is the principal, which is the amount you need to borrow to pay for your home and closing costs. Second is the interest. It’s what you pay the financial institution for the use of its money.

By the way, there’s such a thing as a fixed-rate mortgage whereas you have the same interest rate for the life of the loan. The alternative is the adjustable-rate loan, where the interest rate can change from year to year. You’d be wise to consult with someone from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency or a person from Lake Area Mortgage in order to determine which type is best for you and your situation.

When trying to figure if you can afford the house you’d like to buy, you should be “pre-approved” by your lender, so your ducks are all in a row when you go to bid on the house. Being “pre-approved” shows others that you have the financial means to afford a house. Mortgage lenders will work with the numbers concerning your current gross monthly income income and total debt in order to figure out your overall financial health. You ideally want to be pre-approved and then approved for a mortgage, so you can use the mortgage toward buying the house you want.

The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency assists many people in the process of buying a home in Minnesota. Their website is www.mnhousing.gov.

MN Housing Finance Agency

mn_housing_finance_agencyIn Minnesota, the MN Housing Finance Agency is involved in increasing the housing inventory around the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area in order to accommodate a growing market of people looking to buy homes in a thriving region.

In June 2014, for instance, there were more homes for sale in the region than the same month the year prior. The good news is that this has been true for several months in a row—the housing inventory is rising to meet demand.

In Minnesota, there are typically between 8,000 and 18,000 homes for sale at any given time. MN Housing Finance Agency exists to work with people who want to buy a Minnesota home but may not have the knowledge or money to complete the complicated process and easily get into a decent home.

MN Housing Finance Agency helps thousands of families move into new homes. With down payment assistance and successful loan closings, the mortgage loan help provided by a caring agency has proven to be invaluable to many Minnesotans who want a nice place to live.

There are all sorts of homes for sale. MN Housing Finance Agency helps people purchase investment properties, build their new dream home, rehab and repair, and restructure existing debt with refinance transactions.

Now’s a good time to buy a home in Minnesota because there are more homes and housing options to choose from than in previous years. Did you know the median price for a home purchase in MN is about $220,000 these days? Keep in mind there are affordable options well below that price, as well as certain homes that cost more, but give you “a lot of bang for your buck.”

With fewer foreclosure sales and overall gains in inventory, price growth is moderate, so now’s a good time to buy as home values seem to be on the upswing.

If you’re thinking of buying a home and need some assistance to make it happen, call our team at 651-209-2900 to see what help is available.

MN Housing

mn_housingIs the MN housing/Twin Cities’ real estate market hot or cold these days? A snapshot of how it’s doing as of June 14 shows that it’s hot.

For instance, for the week ending on June 14, new listings were up 5.9% and inventory increased 6.5%. To put that in perspective, the Twin Cities region had over 2,000 properties newly listed, and overall there were almost 17,000 available for sale in the marketplace. Not too shabby!

2014 is turning out to be a decent year for real estate transactions in Minnesota, as the economy hums along and people seem to have good jobs, which translates into having the stability and the money needed to put a down payment down on a new house and/or make mortgage payments toward fully owning their own place.

A good gauge of how a market is doing is the median sales price. In the Twin Cities, the median sales price for MN housing increased from the prior year. In 2014, the median sales price is $210,000. Furthermore, the percent of original list price received is 96.8%, which means most sellers are getting paid what they want to get paid for their house.

The number of days “on the market” decreased by 7% in recent times to 80. So, if you were wondering how long it takes before the average house sells locally, it’s about 80 days.

MN Down Payment Assistance is helping people get the homes they want in Minnesota. With financial assistance available for first time home buyers in the form of the MN Housing Mortgage Credit Certificate, buyers may be able to claim up to 35% of their mortgage interest as a federal income tax credit each year (Consult with your tax advisor for further information regarding deductibility of interest and charges.) Many people take advantage of this program because it could reduce their federal income tax liability and possibly save them up to $2,000 per year (Consult with your tax advisor for further information regarding deductibility of interest and charges.) The MCC program also involves low-interest mortgage options and access to loans for help with making a down payment and/or closing costs.

If you’re interested in MN housing, please call Lake Area Mortgage at 651-209-2900 or email infoLAM@lakeareamtg.com to discuss available options to help you get into a new home.

First Time Home Buyers in Minnesota

first_time_home_buyers_in_minnesotaFirst time home buyers in Minnesota should consider moving to Shakopee, a city that’s southwest of downtown Minneapolis.

Shakopee has about 37,000 people, and is located on the south bank bend of the Minnesota River. Long known for its attractions like a family amusement park and horse racetrack, Shakopee is part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro region, and it’s growing.

Indeed, Shakopee is one of the fastest growing cities in the Twin Cities region, nearly doubling its population between 2000 and 2010.

First time home buyers in Minnesota would be wise to look at homes available for sale in Shakopee, with its abundance of nice, traditional homes for sale. It’s an ideal place to live, with many young families moving in, appreciating its small-town charm.

In historic downtown Shakopee, locals and tourists alike enjoy the boutiques and restaurants, along with riverside concerts and summertime car shows. Shakopee combines traditional charm with modern convenience– no wonder it’s growing. People want to live, work, shop and play there.

People often move to where the jobs are and where the good schools are, right? Shakopee Public Schools include five elementary schools, two junior highs and one senior high school. If you have kids, they will get a good education in Shakopee schools. The city also has a campus of the Globe University/Minnesota School of Business, a private career college offering programs in business, health sciences, legal sciences, multimedia and design and information technology. Shakopee benefits from a great location in Minnesota– it’s a short car ride away from big city life as well as quiet, rural areas.

Do you need down payment assistance to move to a nice house in Shakopee? If so, contact Lake Area Mortgage at 651-209-2900 to ask about available options. Lake Area Mortgage helps first time home buyers in Minnesota, so they can afford the places they want to live and enjoy their new homes.

Minnesota Housing Authority

minnesota_housing_authorityThe Minnesota Housing Authority is set up to help Minnesotans obtain safe, decent and affordable housing. Investing hundreds of millions of dollars to preserve federally-subsidized rental housing as well as promote home ownership, the Minnesota Housing Authority ideally wants to prevent and end homelessness in the state. Is it a lofty goal? Yes. But with the right attitude, funding, and promotion, the Minnesota Housing Authority works everyday toward making that goal a reality.

When someone is looking to buy a house in Minnesota, the Minnesota Housing Authority is a great resource, connecting people with information about mortgage loans, home improvement assistance, finding lenders, and preventing foreclosure. Additionally, the Minnesota Housing Authority is always on the lookout for the lowest interest rates so you can benefit!

While most people ideally want to own their own home, some, for various reasons, need rental assistance. Minnesota Housing Authority provides that, helping people look for affordable rental housing/shelter.

The Minnesota Housing Authority is a connector of agencies and people—a middleman of sorts. Connected with homeownership lenders, home improvement partners, and real estate agents, the Minnesota Housing Authority works hard to bring affordable services and financing options to people looking for a good place to live.

One of the latest options the Minnesota Housing Authority offers includes loan amounts up to $50,000! Also available are unsecured loans to help homeowners who need money to pay toward their mortgage bills. With amounts up to $15,000 and no equity needed, these loans might be just what you’ve been looking for/needing to be able to keep living where you live, avoiding the disruption of having to move.

Besides helping first-time home buyers, the Minnesota Housing Authority also helps others refinance through the “Step Up” program.

There really are many wonderful options available to people looking for affordable housing in Minnesota. Connecting with the Minnesota Housing Authority can help you discover options you never knew existed.

Minnesota Housing

minnesota_housingWhile people live all over the great, big state of Minnesota, the biggest metro area is Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, housing some 3.7 million people. It is the second largest economic center in the Midwest, behind Chicago.

The American economy has had some challenging years, to say the least, and according to the Minnesota Housing Partnership, nearly a quarter million Minnesotan households pay over 50% of their income on housing. Ideally, people should be paying about 30%– not over 50%.
Minnesota, in general, has a tight housing market—there just aren’t that many vacant apartments, for instance, in the Twin Cities metro area.

Keep in mind that Minnesota has a diverse enough economy that it isn’t in as bad a shape as many other states. Therefore, there’s more of a demand for Minnesota housing because the state has two things others want: jobs and population growth.

One of the major reasons Minnesota housing is lacking in space for people is that building permits issued for multi-unit and single-family homes hit extreme lows in the past couple years. In other words, the population grew, but the housing stock did not keep pace. And, like many other cities, developers tended to chase the well-heeled crowd, constructing expensive, luxury apartments, condos and homes, such that affordable places to live became harder and harder to find.

Thankfully, though, there is encouraging financial help available for low income residents of the state. For instance, did you know eligible Minnesota Housing borrowers have access to three down payment and closing cost loan options? In other words, there is help “out there” to help people achieve their goal of successful home ownership. In some cases, money is loaned to help home buyers rehab properties that need some repairs—a good way to improve the housing stock affordably.
A quick call to Lake Area Mortgage at 651-209-2900 can connect you with a wealth of information regarding affordable Minnesota housing opportunities available at this time.