Spring Housing Fair and Penn's Guaranteed Mortgage Program

When Almanac last looked at the University's Guaranteed Mortgage Program*, the Treasurer's Office was happy to point out that while over 1300 faculty and staff had bought homes in the area through the program, there had been only two defaults--and that both of these were in "workout" with one almost paid off.

Another year, another 60-plus mortgages later, the record is still intact as faculty and staff use the Penn program that began some 35 years ago as part of the University's determination to become a residential campus. Enabling faculty and staff to live within walking distance was a necessary component of that plan, made feasible by the presence of a neighborhood rich in architectural treasures that could be bought affordably, and restored by their owners.

Initially the Guaranteed Mortgage was unique in offering a mortgage covering 100% of the appraised value of the home or condo to be purchased, within a set upper limit; and initially the sole bank involved was the one now known as Mellon. Then the coverage went up, in 1993, to 105% of appraised value (up to $203,150), and a second lender, Berean Savings Bank, was added. At the December 13 meeting of the Trustees Executive Committee, a new enabling resolution was passed that is to add a third lender and to raise the percentage of coverage to 120% to allow for more restoration and renovation to be figured in the initial mortgage. That program, is still in negotiation, according to Associate Treasurer D-L Wormley.

According to a 1993 estimate of PFSNI (Penn Faculty and Staff for Neighborhood Issues), some 4000 members of the University now live in the area, and belong to a network of neighborhood organizations--some of them long preexisting the University mortgage program--that have worked to create the University City Arts League and other cultural institutions; new amenities such as the Firehouse Farmers Market; and house tours and other annual events.

As the University prepares for its annual Housing Fair --to be held on Wednesday, May 7, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall--the volunteer group called University City Promotions invites members of the University to tour some 70 homes this coming Saturday during the sixth annual University City Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Treasurer's Office invites inquiries about the Guaranteed Mortgage Program of the University, at 898-7256.


* "Expanding the Guaranteed Mortgage Westward," Almanac March 21, 1995; see also "The University Mortgage Program Revisited," Almanac November 23, 1993.


Volume 43 Number 29
April 8, 1997

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