(WJBK) - In the past three years, the number of approved home mortgages in Detroit has doubled with a program that helps prospective buyers when their homes don't appraise.
One of those home buyers is Tina Sykes. The Detroit native moved away but wanted to come home and she wanted to buy her own place. In March 2018, she applied for a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan but it hit a roadblock, a common one in Detroit.
"Found out that the driveway was not going to pass for an FHA loan so we had to get that done for it to be mortgage ready," Sykes said.
Her situation and homes just not appraising are two reasons many Detroiters couldn't afford to sign a mortgage.
In 2015, Mayor Mike Duggan told then President Barack Obama that Detroit was a cash market hard for people to break through because of appraisals and renovations. So they teamed up and started the Detroit Home Mortgage Program.
"They provided me with the funds to get my driveway totally done and also had a couple of things done in the house that I want it done and that was also through the program so I got my kitchen rehabbed as well as the floors done so I'm really happy," Sykes said.
Since the program started, the number of mortgages in Detroit has doubled, according to Multiple Listing Services (MLS).
In 2009, 447 mortgages were signed in the city. By 2015 there were 585 and with the end of 2018, there were more than 1,100 mortgages.
"What it allows people to do is even the playing field and get a mortgage instead of having to come up with the cash to buy a home so I think that's what he seen such an increase in the last three years and why mortgages are back to 2008 levels," said Krysta Pate with the program.
Pate says the program allows buyers to close even if it's a bad appraisal, making it easier for banks to close on homes which makes it easier for appraisers to do their jobs. Then, the next time someone buys a home in the neighborhood, there's a value that the appraiser can work from.
Other Detroiters who have moved into the city say it's been a godsend.
"It's been a blessing for me because other than that I would not have been able to do it because I did not have the money to do it," said Bertha Alexander. "I'm glad that I was introduced to this program now because I know to tell someone else and my neighbors are fixing their house so it's really making the neighborhood come alive."
The program originally set up ended but five banks have joined together to continue for home buyers. More information about the program is available here: DetroitHomeMortgage.org