Penn's Enhanced Mortgage Program, designed to encourage faculty and staff to purchase homes in University City, is succeeding beyond expectations.

Office of Community Housing figures show that since the program began March 30, Penn affiliates purchased 57 University City homes through the program, compared with 37 homes purchased in all of 1997 under Penn's Guaranteed Mortgage Program.

More importantly, Penn employees at all grade levels are participating in the program, as reflected in the range of prices for homes sold. While the average price for Enhanced Mortgage Program homes was $107,800, the median price was $96,300. Six of the homes sold for less than $50,000; only four cost more than $200,000.

"We're very pleased at the wide range of Penn affiliates who are taking advantage of the program," Director of Community Housing Diane-Louise Wormley said.

The program offers interest-free non-mortgage loans to Penn affiliates purchasing homes in the area from Market St. to Woodland Ave. and the Schuylkill to 49th St.; the loans are forgiven for buyers who live in their homes for seven years.

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Originally published on October 15, 1998